MT. VERNON — For Rend Lake College student Bresley Kerans, taking part in Friday’s Sustainability Scavenger Hunt at the local Walmart proved to be an eye-opening experience.
Kerans and her teammates representing the RLC College Bowl program had only 15 minutes to search through Walmart to find a wide variety of eco-friendly items.
A total of 20 RLC students competed in the event. There were 10 teams representing various athletic and academic clubs.
The hunt was a challenge and forced students to think about the kinds of products out there that are safe for the environment, Kerans said.
“It was difficult to find,” Kerans said. “Once we knew what we were looking for, it was okay, but it’d be hard to shop (that way). … It’s good to know. I don’t think about it nearly as much as I should.”
The scavenger hunt was sponsored by the RLC Greening the Campus Committee, Walmart and Keep America Beautiful. Its goal was to promote awareness about recycling and eco-friendly shopping.
Greg Hollmann, an RLC associate professor, said he hoped the event would get students thinking about their shopping choices and how these products impact the environment.
“How we spend our money is probably one of our greatest voices,” Hollmann said. “So maybe the students will make more conscious decisions moving forward about the products they do buy.”
Before the hunt commenced, the student teams were given a checklist of the different items they had to find in the store.
The list included about 14 eco-friendly products, including plastics, organic produce, energy-efficient TVs, items in bulk packaging and more.
The students then had 15 minutes to find as many of the products as they could.
“I thought it’d be fun,” said RLC student Nicolle Patton, a member of the Student Transfer and Retention Support team. “It’s important to me. I try to teach my Girl Scout troop that recycling is a good thing, you know helping the environment.”
The scavenger hunt was RLC’s second awareness event held this week to celebrate America Recycles Day.
On Thursday, the college organized a project to revamp the three large recycling bins on campus. AmeriCorps and welding students at RLC took part in the effort.
“(It’s) just to bring awareness to what recycling means,” said Tyson Ellis, a sustainability professional at RLC.
The College Bowl team won first place at Friday’s scavenger hunt. The Radiologic Technology team came in second place and the AmeriCorps team was third.
First place team members won a $25 gift card to Walmart and a $25 gift card to the RLC bookstore. The second and third place teams also received prizes.
For more information on the college’s environmental programs, visit www.rlc.edu/greening-the-campus.