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Sustainability OWU plans green move-out

Staff April 4, 2013 News No Comments

By Sadie Slager
Transcript Correspondent

After donating many unwanted items last year, Sustainability OWU is preparing for its second May Move Out event.

The event aims to reduce the amount of waste at the end of the school year as students move out of university housing. Sustainability OWU, the main campus group promoting a greener lifestyle on campus, is seeking volunteers to help in the moving out and recycling process.

Senior Sarah D’Alexander of Sustainability OWU called last year’s May Move Out a “huge success.”

“We collected around 10 tons of donations, which all went to local charities and to the OWU Free Store—a ‘store’ open in the Fall semester to give donations back to the students for free,” she said. “We keep it open as long as there are things left, which isn’t long.”

D’Alexander said the leaders of the project are hoping to make a few changes this year to make it even better.

“This time around we want to increase the diversion of recyclables (cardboard, paper and plastic), better incorporate the SLUs and fraternities in the project and get more volunteers so we can expand our collection sites and improve our efficiency,” she said.

Students tend to have an abundance of extra things in their rooms at the end of the school year, as was evident in previous years, according to D’Alexander.

“It was the accumulation of reusable things like fridges, microwaves, TVs, clothing, books and furniture seen in dumpsters during the move out in previous years that really inspired the creation of this project,” she said.

“There is also a lot of paper, like old class notes, that gets thrown away during this time that we really want to make sure gets recycled, rather than thrown away, this year.”

D’ Alexander said there was a diverse collection of donations last year, but the more commonly gathered items were school supplies, textbooks and clothing.

Such items were recycled last year and will be again this year through being donated to local charities like Goodwill, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, as well as the OWU Free Store.

Senior Hudson Miller said he sees an accumulation of junk items from students at the end of the school year.

“I have noticed that people often leave large, bulky, low-value items like mattress pads and plastic containers,” he said.

Miller said he sees a lot of those unwanted items in his fraternity house, where there is no formal method of recycling them.

“We often will (give) things to each other or just leave things in the closets and basements,” he said.

According to D’Alexander, along with Sustainability OWU’s composting project in the dining halls, the 2012 May Move Out Project contributed to “a 54-percent reduction in the amount of waste produced by the university.”

She said Sustainability OWU would like to see as much student participation and as many volunteers as they had last year.

“This is a huge project that needs as much help as we can get,” she said. “Ideally we would like everyone on campus to be aware and willing to do their part to reduce the amount of things they throw away at the end of the semester, but we settle for anyone who is willing to give us a hand.”

D’Alexander said volunteers will be able to help in several ways depending on their availability and interests.

“We need one volunteer from each dorm, SLU and fraternity to let us know when their collection boxes get full, so we know when we need to do pick-ups,” she said. “Also, we will need volunteers to help us put up collection boxes and flyers, sort and collect through donations, help us move donations from the collection areas to our vans during finals week, and help us sort through the donations and decide which charity they should be given to. All volunteers can receive service hours for helping us in any step of the process.”

According to D’Alexander, when it comes time in early May for students to start moving out, collection boxes will be set up in each living area on campus. Pick-up times will be scheduled to collect and sort donations.

“We keep the items we think students might like for the OWU free store in the fall, and the rest we give to local charities,” she said.

D’Alexander said students should consider helping out with the project particularly if they utilize this process to donate unwanted items or like to get “free stuff” from the campus Free Store.

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