University of Baltimore launches recycling campaign

A new recycling campaign at the University of Baltimore is urging residents to vote with their trash.

University officials are inviting Baltimoreans to answer questions about the city by placing their recycled trash in one of four see-through bins on campus. The first question: "Who is Baltimore's greatest team sports icon?" The possible answers, each with his own bin, are former Baltimore Orioles Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis and former Baltimore Colt Johnny Unitas.

The campaign, "Talking Trash: UB Votes to Recycle," is part of a larger effort by the midtown institution to help preserve the environment by reducing energy, promoting public transportation, using sustainable building techniques, and pursuing other "green" initiatives.

"Vote early and vote often. Vote often for the athlete of your choice," University President Robert L. Bogomolny told students and staffers who gathered Tuesday to help launch the campaign.

The bins are mounted on a 120-foot-long fence created to screen a vacant lot on West Oliver Street, opposite the Fitzgerald apartments and Barnes & Noble bookstore. When people drop in recyclable paper, cans and bottles, they are rewarded with music and sound effects. The bin with the most recyclables at the end of the month will determine the winning answer, which will be posted on the university's website. Then a new question, still to be determined, will be posed.

Bogomolny said the university is working hard to improve the campus and surrounding area, and promoting recycling is part of its strategy. "It's about doing good by having some fun," he said of the campaign. "As you look around the University of Baltimore, we have been changing the neighborhood. This looks a lot better than a surface parking lot, doesn't it?"

The fence will be illuminated at night and should help improve the walk between Penn Station and Bolton Hill while engaging the community, said Peter Toran, the university's vice president of planning and external affairs.

Robert Murrow, the city's recently appointed recycling coordinator, applauded the university's initiative.

"This kind of marketing campaign really works," he said. "It really gets people's attention. ... Forty percent of all city residents recycle, and we need to increase the numbers. This is one way to do it."

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