OWU Earns “Keep Delaware County Beautiful” Award

Ohio Wesleyan’s May Move Out program was honored Dec. 3 with the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition.

mmo_award_2015Ohio Wesleyan’s May Move Out program was honored Dec. 3 with the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition. May Move Out is supported with a grant from Delaware Knox Marion Morrow Solid Waste Management District (DKMM SWD). OWU earned the award for helping students to recycle unwanted goods when they left campus for the summer. The “May Move Out” program recycled about 9.5 tons (19,000 pounds) of materials, benefiting Goodwill Industries and keeping reusable items out of area landfills.

OWU’s May Move Out effort was initiated by students and continues to engage dozens of student volunteers. Information on the first few years of the program is here.

The Keep Delaware County Beautiful coalition, led by the Delaware General Health District, provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to residents and businesses in Delaware County.

More information on the May Move Out can be found here.

OWU Press Release Here.

Tossing The Trash Habit

Imagine if you will: a world without garbage. No landfills, no dumps, and no garbage trucks driving down the street once a week to pick up bags and bags of trash. It’s a nearly impossible world to imagine, but for the past 3.5 weeks, I have tried to do my part to get a little closer to that world.

letsby Reilly Reynolds (OWU ’16)

Imagine if you will: a world without garbage. No landfills, no dumps, and no garbage trucks driving down the street once a week to pick up bags and bags of trash. It’s a nearly impossible world to imagine, but for the past 3.5 weeks, I have tried to do my part to get a little closer to that world. I delved into the lifestyle modernly known as “zero waste”…or at least I attempted.

I made a plan all those weeks ago to take the steps necessary to reduce my garbage footprint. I made a list of what I would do to toss my trash habit. I would:

  1. Collect all the trash I did make in a mason jar so I could evaluate what I used the most of.
  2. Carry reusable items with me everywhere.
  3. Create DIY products to replace some of my more waste intensive/ less planet friendly products.
  4. Reduce my consumption of packaged/processed foods.

weliveinatrashyworldThe first day of my new lifestyle, I bought a hot chocolate without thinking about the reusable mug I had with me. I gained a paper cup to throw in my mason jar. The second day, I realized that every time my school dining hall charges for a meal, an automatic, unrecyclable receipt prints

We live in a trashy world. As such, I had to get creative. I started saving my receipts, and I crafted a to-do list note pad. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start. At least those tiny slips of glossy paper will have  one more purpose before the landfill gets them.

My goal was to have only accumulated one mason jar of trash by the time the month was up. With three days of the month left, I have filled two jars.

Examining the contents, I see:

  • 2 paper coffee cups
  • 6 single-serving chip bag wrappers
  • 3 granola bar wrappers
  • And various kinds packaging from food, clothing, and assorted day-to-day items

I consider the month a success. iconsiderthemonthI didn’t hit my goal, but I did learn a lot about my consumption patterns, and I made decisions I wouldn’t ordinarily make. I started refusing straws at restaurants, carrying my own take-out containers with me, and sending an email to my school’s dining services director to see if there’s anything we can do about those blasted receipts.

I followed my plan pretty closely. I carried my thermos, travel mug, water bottle, cloth napkin, and silverware with me everywhere, and though it frustrated some baristas and servers, others accepted (and even praised!) my sustainable choices.

My processed food consumption could be improved. Chips are my downfall, but I suppose I will just have to learn to make my own. After all, it turns out I’m okay at making my own things. I crafted natural hair mousse, laundry detergent, a foot scrub, and body moisturizer this month! Once I run out of my current shampoo and conditioner, I’ll try my hand at those too.

Will I continue my zero-waste trend? That’s the plan. We’ll see if I can meet my mason jar goal next month. mason

For me, being zero-waste has become more than a new way of life. It’s also a mission, a challenge. It’s a way to start recognizing the patterns of consumption that we all take for granted every day. It’s a way to make change, and encourage others to ask questions.

Perhaps most importantly, trash stinks for the Earth, and we’re running out of places to put it. So rather than finding a new landfill spot, I propose that we cut our consumption.

Let’s take a hard look at what we buy, why we buy it, and how we can buy it more sustainably. Let’s vote with our wallets.

Let’s write letters to corporate executives and ask for less (or at least more Earth friendly) packaging. Let’s make change, because we can.

In fact, it would be a waste not to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, being zero-waste has become more than a new way of life. It’s also a mission, a challenge. It’s a way to start recognizing the patterns of consumption that we all take for granted every day. It’s a way to make change, and encourage others to ask questions.

Perhaps most importantly, trash stinks for the Earth, and we’re running out of places to put it. So rather than finding a new landfill spot, I propose that we cut our consumption.

Let’s take a hard look at what we buy, why we buy it, and how we can buy it more sustainably. Let’s vote with our wallets. Let’s write letters to corporate executives and ask for less (or at least more Earth friendly) packaging. Let’s make change, because we can.

In fact, it would be a waste not to.

OWU Campus Sustainability Month ’15: How to be a Lean, Green Machine

October is Campus Sustainability Month, and I’m here to be a little green angel on your shoulder and share a few ways to spruce up your space in an eco-nomic way.

Reilly Reynolds

When most people think of “going green” there is an image that pops into your head of bread that tastes like cardboard, embracing the smell of body odor, and asking people to call you Sister Willow.

While all of those things are well and good, being sustainable doesn’t have to be so crunchy and counter-cultural. It simply entails caring enough about the state of our planet to make meaningful changes and encourage others to do the same.

October is Campus Sustainability Month, and I’m here to be a little green angel on your shoulder and share a few ways to spruce up your space in an eco-nomic way.

Green Tip #1: Invest in an organic pillow! Conventional pillows are made with chemicals like polyurethane foam which can interrupt regular sleep patterns, and are energy intensive to make too! Swap your pillow for one from Naturepedic Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.24.44 AM(naturpedic.com) or Sachi Organics (sachiorganics.com) and sleep like a baby. With all that (re)new(able) energy you can start a green revolution!

Green Tip #2: When thinking about décor for your room, think less about plastic based products from retail stores, and think more about DIY! You can make things yourself that are one of a kind and reuse materials that would otherwise be thrown away. Think about making a green terrarium out of old glass jars (you can find unique ones at thrift shops!). Instructions are easy to find online, and your new plants will help improve your air quality. Other DIY ideas: home deodorizer (it’s 2015 and aerosols are so out), record player bookends, and pillows made from old t-shirts.

Green Tip #3: Clean up your laundry routine. Conventional detergents often contain artificial colors and fragrances that can irritate your skin. When you dry your clothes, leangreenyou unnecessarily use energy to do a process that the air will do all by itself, given a little more time. Often, your clothes will end up less wrinkled and smelling fresher if you hang dry. And one more thing: If you use dryer sheets, they leave a thin coating of formaldehyde and other chemicals on your fabric. Yuck.

Making your own laundry detergent couldn’t be easier.. 2 cups baking soda + 1 cup Super Washing Soda + ½ a bar of grated castile soap = a super cost effective way to live greener and feel good about your laundry day. If you prefer a store bought option, Seventh Generation makes a great detergent.

You’re ready! Get out there and rock the world, eco-warrior. And if you have any questions, feel free to email me at rjreynol@owu.edu.

May Move Out 2015 – Results

OWU’s Spring 2015 May Move Out focused on getting students to donate reusable items to Goodwill (by placing them in storage pods) while moving out of the dorms. Overall about 19,000 pounds of material was collected by Goodwill throughout the May Move Out period. That is about 9.5 tons of material kept out of the landfill (and close to our estimated 10 ton diversion rate).

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OWU’s Spring 2015 May Move Out focused on getting students to donate reusable items to Goodwill (by placing them in storage pods) while moving out of the dorms. The effort worked well given our goals of diverting stuff from the landfill (and to Goodwill) while clearing the dorms (in preparation for their summer use).

Overall about 19,000 pounds of material was collected by Goodwill throughout the May Move Out period. That is about 9.5 tons of material kept out of the landfill (and close to our estimated 10 ton diversion rate).

Earlier this year, Ohio Wesleyan was awarded $10,000 from the Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow (DKMM) Joint Solid Waste District through the efforts of OWU’s Sustainability Task Force.

Overall, we rate the effort a B with areas of improvement to include promotion and logistics.

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Of the larger items, according to Goodwill, we collected 45 mini refrigerators, 12 bins of textiles, 37 misc. wares, 13 futons, 14 office chairs, 18 rugs, 27 storage containers and a dozen or so misc. chairs.

Our Goodwill partners were very happy with the effort, as were OWU’s Buildings and Grounds and Residential Life staff. In other words, we have a model that can, with some tweaks, work in the future.

With overall success come a series of problems and proposed improvements to consider.


Problem: Promotional efforts did not work as well as possible. This will be a big challenge for May Move Out 2016.

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Michelle Smith pulling a nice bike out of the dumpster. Potential donations were removed from the dumpsters by May Move Out volunteers. When asked, a signficant number of students professed ignorance of the May Move Out effort.

Solutions:

  • Earlier efforts to inform students and RAs, Fraternities and SLUs about the May Move Out effort. Promotion in the last month of classes came at a time when everyone was distracted by many other issues. Consider outreach efforts that will reach students already hit by a barrage of information.
  • Consider a fall and early spring promotional effort with a Goodwill truck with a “May Move Out 2016 (Early!)” banner parked in residential area. Possibly a similar effort mid-spring semester. Allow for early donations (as well as faculty and staff donations) but focus is to raise awareness for the actual May Move Out.
  • Banners for May Move Out on each donation pod. Potential for green balloons floating above pods.
  • Organizations and groups to help with outreach: Tree House, UC 160 Sustainability focused section, spring 2016. Students and courses in Environmental Studies.
  • Brainstorm promotional ideas:
    • Pod Puppies: puppies (from Companion Dogs company?) for end of semester stress relief and promotion of May Move Out
    • Green Week or Earth Day promotion
    • Have a contest (like Greek Week) based on how much you get donated (organize by floor, dorm, SLU, etc.)
    • Swag? Green Week efforts? Social Media?

Problem: Lots of recyclable material, particularly paper and cardboard, in the dumpsters. Part of the problem is the lack of a recycling program in the City of Delaware for businesses and multi-tenant buildings (such as the dorms on campus).

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A May Move Out promotional poster (above) in the dumpster!

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Lots and lots of paper and cardboard in the dumpsters.

Solutions:

  • work with the City of Delaware on this problem
  • investigate dual dumpster / recycling bins
  • improve campus recycling on the residential side of campus, in particular many of the cardboard boxes were from Aramark cleaning materials.

Problem: Limited donation dates and times meant that materials that could have been donated were thrown in dumpsters (for example, over night when the donation pods were locked).

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Donations left by a locked donation pod overnight (above).

Solutions:

  • Have pods placed on campus earlier.
  • With better promotion, students will know to leave donations by the pods if they are locked. Banners: “May Move Out Goodwill Donations. Leave it Here if You’re Not Sure”

Problem: Students have a tendency to toss everything (including potential donations) in the closest dumpster or garbage can.

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Potential donations in a dumpster that was closer to the dorm than the donation pod.

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Potential donations dropped off by the trash can closest to the dorm exit.

Solution:

  • Better promotion of May Move Out effort to encourage students to carry their donations the extra distance to the donation pods
  • Adjust donation pod locations so that donations can be made by all well used dumpsters (see image above). Attempt to get donation pod closer to dorms than the dumpsters.
    • Bashford pod: try to get dumpster and pod closer and facing same direction

Problem: too many nearly unused donation pods near SLUs and Frats.

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Things were very quiet at the donation pods near the SLUs (Small Living Units) and Frats.

Solution: This is actually a good thing, as it means we will probably need fewer donation pods for the Spring 2016 May Move Out (saving some money).

  • Work with Fraternities & SLUs to determine if donation pods are needed and where they should be. Possible that the fraternities and SLUs can organize an effort to get donations to the donation pods near the dorms, rather than have their own donation pod.
  • Revised May Move Out Promotion effort for Fraternities and SLUs

Additional ideas and issues:

  • gloves for volunteers at each pod
  • hours for each pod posted on pod
  • have real estate lock boxes for pod keys (rather than pick up and drop off)
  • encourage volunteers to circulate – don’t have to stay by assigned pod

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OWU Awarded $10k Grant to Fund May Move Out Effort

Wednesday February 11 2015: Ohio Wesleyan was awarded $10,000 from the Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow (DKMM) Joint Solid Waste District for our May Move Out effort for 2015 through the efforts of the Sustainability Task Force.

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Wednesday February 11 2015: Ohio Wesleyan was awarded $10,000 from the Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow (DKMM) Joint Solid Waste District for our May Move Out effort for 2015 through the efforts of the Sustainability Task Force. The project, originally developed and implemented by student Sarah D’Alexander in 2012, diverts reusable and recyclable materials from the trash during the student move out at the end of the spring semester. Grant funds will offset costs to OWU for pod rental (for short term storage of reusable and recyclable materials, and transport to our partners at Goodwill Industries) as well as promotional and educational efforts. The Sustainability Task Force (STF) guided the grant proposal, and students in John Krygier’s Geography 360 course (Environmental Geography) as well as Green House SLU members will be working on the project with Goodwill Industries, OWU Buildings and Grounds and OWU Residential Life.


Project Description:

Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) looks to significantly enhance and expand recycling/reuse efforts on our campus among its nearly 1,750 students who bring furnishings, clothing, small appliances and other items to outfit their residence hall living spaces each year. Much of the materials they bring and accumulate over an academic year do not go with them when they leave campus for the summer.

In fact, at the end of each spring semester over a few days, OWU students dump in excess of 43 tons of materials, much of which could be recycled or reused, into garbage dumpsters as they prepare to depart campus. Furniture, lamps, flat screen TVs, clothes, computers – usually of high quality and relatively new – end up in landfills, particularly as students from outside the state and country find they do not have the resources to move and travel with these items.

Ohio Wesleyan seeks to develop a partnership with Goodwill Industries to divert as many student discards as possible away from the landfill. We seek to build a sustainable model for “May Move Out” (as students move out of campus at the end of spring semester in May) that includes, in addition to significant waste diversion, an educational component whereby OWU students come to understand the significance of the waste they generate and learn to anticipate, plan, and reduce their waste impact. Further, the May Move Out program will engage students from several campus environmental organizations in working with Goodwill, OWU’s Buildings and Grounds, Residential and Campus cleaning staff as well as faculty in the Environmental Studies Program. Therefore, we believe our proposed program will, in addition to significant waste diversion, serve as an important pedagogical and service learning opportunity for our students. The desire to partner with a respected community organization with a shared goal of the reuse of materials, the capacity to handle a sizable addition of inventory for their stores and other enterprises and the desire to work with our students made Goodwill Industries our first choice for an off-campus partner.

The project outlined in this proposal builds on earlier efforts which involved recycling boxes in the residence halls and OWU students and staff sorting through the donated materials to then deliver appropriate materials to community organizations. The current proposed initiative addresses challenges and inadequacies with such previous end of year move out attempts and incorporates a partnership with a community organization that can provide the staffing and expertise needed to most successfully make use of the materials generated.

Meetings and discussions with Goodwill Industries and OWU Buildings & Grounds staff, students and faculty, resulted in the May Move Out project concept. The project entails:

  • Placement of 9 storage containers aka pods at selected locations on the Residential side of campus, near garbage dumpsters to allow separation of recyclable and non-recyclable materials at each of the 9 sites.
  • OWU students and Goodwill staff posted at the pods as “Diversion Consultants” to answer questions about what items would be considered waste vs. recyclable/reuse over the 4 day move-out period. We propose to leave some pods open and unmonitored, and will compare contents in those pods to contents in monitored pods to assess the ability of students to self-sort waste from recyclable/reusable materials.
  • Relocation of the pods after the 6 (or are we saying 4 – pods open on the weekend?) day student move out period to the Goodwill Industries facility in Delaware, Ohio where contents will be sorted and processed by Goodwill staff. OWU student “Diversion Consultants” may be involved at this stage of the process to assess the collected materials.An educational campaign is required for the proposed project to work. OWU will build on an existing campaign called “Pack it in, Pack it up, Pack it out” to include the option to recycle/reuse. Components of this campaign include:
  • Training of Residential Advisors on Residence Hall floors to understand the May Move Out and resources available to them and students on their floors.
  • Creation of basic recycle/reuse or waste guidelines, on postcards distributed to students with email access to “Consultants” as well as social media messaging. Similar information on posters will be placed near waste areas in residential buildings.
  • Events in the spring semester to raise awareness of the May Move Out campaign to include informational tables in the Campus Center, in Residential Food Service areas, and other locations.

Ohio Wesleyan’s project best fits the Non-Residential Recycling/Waste Reduction Project as defined in the Delaware Knox Marion Morrow Solid Waste Management District (DKMM SWD) 2015 Recycling & Market Development Project Application Handbook. OWU’s request is part of the institution’s larger plan to foster a culture of sustainability on campus as further outlined in item #5 below. Specifically, OWU seeks $10,000 to address priorities of DKMM SWD to foster and encourage collection and reuse of recyclable materials from the campus community.

With the campus drawing students from 46 states (with over 50% from Ohio) and 43 countries, this initiative provides a unique opportunity to reach a broad audience in our recycling educational efforts and hopes to inspire recycling practices in students that will continue after they graduate.

 

Ohio Wesleyan’s Community Garden

The Ohio Wesleyan Community Garden is a student initiated project, run by OWU students, faculty and Chartwells (campus dining services).

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The Ohio Wesleyan Community Garden is a student initiated project, run by OWU students, faculty and Chartwells (campus dining services).

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We are always in need for volunteers and “taste testers.” Please come visit us! We are located behind the old observatory.

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More information and many pictures can be found at:

This season’s plantings with additional fascinating details can be found at What’s In the Garden.

Contact: Susannah Waxman: sewaxman@owu.edu

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Cooking Matters @ OWU’s Human Health & Kinetics

A team of OWU students, trained as nutrition and/or culinary educators, teach a course for adults in the city of Delaware who are at risk for food insecurity. The participants enroll in a 6-week course led by the students, highlighting nutritional, budgeting/shopping, and food preparation tips and tricks: all to help participants find ways to more effectively feed their family healthful meals on a budget.

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Dr. Chris Fink, in the Department of Health and Human Kinetics (HHK), heads up the Cooking Matters program at Ohio Wesleyan.

A team of OWU students, trained as nutrition and/or culinary educators, teach a course for adults in the city of Delaware who are at risk for food insecurity. The participants enroll in a 6-week course led by the students, highlighting nutritional, budgeting/shopping, and food preparation tips and tricks: all to help participants find ways to more effectively feed their family healthful meals on a budget.

Images are from the first Cooking Matters class, held on October 21, 2014.

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Cooking Matters is also a hunger easement program, as participants receive a bag of groceries to re-create each week’s recipes at home, for their families. Inherently, this program addresses food waste as well, with a focus on how to re-use ingredients in various meals.

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Cooking Matters arose out of the Department of Health and Human Kinetics relationship with Local Matters in Columbus, a direct partner of Share Our Strength, a national non-profit who developed the Cooking Matters curriculum. Ohio Wesleyan is now a satellite partner of this program, required to report outcomes, participation, etc. back to Share Our Strength.

As a health promotion program, Cooking Matters works perfectly in the HHK curriculum, as it allows participation in program planning and program delivery, as well as assessment, and to address one of the larger health issues in the Delaware community at the same time.

Contact Dr. Fink in the Department of Health and Human Kinetics for more information.

May Move Out

In the Spring of 2012, Geog 360 student, Sarah D’ Alexander embarked on a major campus donation drive known as the May Move Out. The purpose of this project was to collect many of the items students typically throw away at the end of the year and donate these items to local charities and the OWU Freestore. It was estimated that 43 tons of “waste” was donated and kept from the massive dumpsters set up all around campus.

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May Move Out       

April 25th 2013 to May 11, 2013

Sarah D’ Alexander, Reed Callahan, Sean Kinghorn

In the Spring of 2012, Geog 360 student, Sarah D’ Alexander embarked on a major campus donation drive known as the May Move Out. The purpose of this project was to collect many of the items students typically throw away at the end of the year and donate these items to local charities and the OWU Freestore. It was estimated that 43 tons of “waste” was donated and kept from the massive dumpsters set up all around campus. However, in the Spring of 2013 the two recycling coordinators (Reed Callahan & Sarah D’ Alexander) and the OWU sustainability coordinator at the time (Sean Kinghorn) revisited this project with a full vengeance for waste reduction. We examined the successes and failures from last years May Move Out and worked to improve the project. Many of these changes pertained to improved organization, systematic structural changes and increased signage and donation bins. All of these factors led to a significant increase in donations collected.


The May Move Out for Spring 2014 was modified in an attempt to have existing OWU staff complete the work, but with mixed results. A revival of the May Move Out, based on the experiences in 2012 and 2013, is planned for the spring of 2015. Contact John Krygier for more information.


Go to May Move Out Spring 2012     |     Go to May Move Out Spring 2013

Note: Both the 2012 and the 2013 report have not been updated so some of the information is out of date.


May Move Out Spring 2013

Reed Callahan, Sean Kinghorn

In regards to the results of this year’s May Move Out we were not able to collect accurate empirical data on the amount of donations collected. Last year Sean was able to examine the differences in waste accumulation and reduction due to the May Move Out, and conduct a comparative analysis of waste tonnage diverted. He was able to conclude that when comparing a 5-year average of waste produced in the past years before the May Move Out that in the Spring of 2012 when the May Move Out was first implemented it diverted 43 tons of waste. The data for this years waste diversion from the May Move Out should be available around mid June, but there is no individual available to calculate the amount of waste diverted for the 2013 May Move Out. Krygier, this may possibly be a project you could do for a future student; have them collect the data from Waste Management, which is provided to the University and have them figure out the amount of waste diverted from this years May Move Out.

Planning the Event

While trying to restructure the May Move Out the most useful source we had was the experiences Sarah and Sean had from last year running the project. We started planning for the Spring 2013 May Move Out in the beginning of the Spring Semester, and this really helped us properly plan out the project and make the necessary contacts.

While planning for the May Move Out there was not a sequential order of steps we followed that led to the end product; we slowly developed upon a broad based plan and then dissected the specifics of each main part of the project. When designing the plan an important aspect was the scale of the project. We realized that we needed to not bite off more than we could chew, and make the May Move Out manageable for the amount of time and effort we would be willing to contribute to the project. This can be a very time consuming project and it is important to realize the lack of free time people have around that time in the semester. In this year’s May Move Out in the last week, Sarah Sean, and I were probably working 5-7 hours a day. If next years students are able to get more volunteers than it may be feasible for some individuals to not commit that amount of time, but this project really requires a few dedicated volunteers to make large time commitments.

When trying to evaluate the scale/size of the project we first needed to consider how many donation areas do we want to have around campus. Last year the donation areas were located in one spot in every dorm and there seemed to be a lack of consistency in the donation locations. This year we put donation boxes on every floor of every residence hall, and donation boxes in every fraternity house, senior housing and SLU.

Shown below is the list of all donation areas (floors for each residence hall and number of fraternities, SLUs, senior housing)

  • Stuy: 3 floors (12 boxes)
  • Smith West: 4 floors Smith East: 5 Floors (36 Boxes)
  • Hayes: 4 floors (16 Boxes)
  • Thompson: 3 floors (12 Boxes)
  • Bashford: 4 floors (16 Boxes)
  • Welch: 4 floors (16 Boxes)
  • 9 Senior Housing and Fraternities (36 boxes)
  • 7 SLUs (28 boxes)

Donation Box Layout

One question that may come to mind is why did I list the number of boxes after each location. This year we decided to use four donation boxes at each location. These four boxes each had labels indicating the types of items that should be placed in them.

Donation Box Layout

The four categories the bins were divided into were school supplies, non-perishable food items/detergents, clothing, and electronics. (I will send an email attached with the signage we used) This system of bin layout contributed to the students separating their items and when dividing the items in the OWU Free Store this saved a significant amount of time in the sorting process. The sorting of items in the May Move Out can be very monotonous so this relieved many of the volunteers from this type of work. As a result more volunteer’s time and effort could be allotted to donation collection. In regards to the decision to collect these types of items, the experience of the past May Move Out helped us gauge the types of items that students typically disposed of at the end of the year. Along with that, the signage used on the donation boxes was very simplistic and used a visual aid to help guide students to the proper bin for their donated items. As a result we had very little contamination or incorrect items in the various donation boxes.

Donation Box Locations

Another important feature of our donation locations was the centralized donation areas in each residence hall that was intended for larger items such as futons and mini fridges. Our reasoning behind the use of this location was that the four donation box areas were in the hallways and larger items being placed in the walkways could be a fire hazard or a more serious concern is that it could look aesthetically unpleasing. The centralized donation areas were typically on the first floor of the residence halls, where there was ramp access, but still easily accessible to students. We indicated the specific location of the centralized donation areas by taking a photo of the location and putting it on a sign that was placed above the donation boxes on each floor. (Refer to the attached pictures of the signage).

Hayes Donation Location

The scale of the project may have been double the size of last years May Move Out, but along with that we had to make sure Res Life approved of the project and the changes we planned to make around the residence halls. An important aspect to note for future groups is that constant communication with the RLC’s is crucial for this project. We met with the RlC’s multiple times and explained where we planned to have donation bin locations and the types of items we were collecting. In order to create as much transparency about the May Move Out to the RLC’s we set up a meeting and showed a PowerPoint of all the locations within the residence halls where the donation bins will be placed and exactly how they will look. This may have taken some extra time, but it worked well because the RLC’s were able to provide us with valuable advice and information that we never would have known. Also photo documenting the locations helped tremendously when we gathered volunteers to help distribute the donation bins all across campus and when donation collector knew exactly where to pick up the bins.

Here is the link to a PDF that shows all of the bin location we proposed to the RLC’s around campus (this document is available in Google Docs, please contact John Krygier for access).

Volunteer Recruiting

The May Move Out relies heavily on the use of volunteers for the success of the project. This year we tried our hardest to get as many volunteers as possible, but we still did not have the turn out we originally hoped for. It is obviously a difficult time in the semester to ask students to commit a few hour volunteering when they have a big final, paper and/or project due that week. We tried to reach out to as many students as possible, but also faculty and staff. Many individuals in the University’s administration or even professors may have some free time to help out and it is worth reaching out to them. This year we had a few professors and even Chaplain Powers and his staff show up to volunteer and that honestly made a huge difference for the success of the project.

List of strategies/methods used to recruit volunteers

  • OWU Daily: we started submitting OWU Daily’s a month before the first week of the May Move Out, but no one responded. We then changed the message in the OWU Daily to “Want Free Stuff” and then explained if students volunteer for the May Move Out they get first dibs on the items we collect. We also had a link to our volunteer sign up sheet.
  • The Transcript: get a reported from the Transcript to write a piece about the project. No one really reads the Transcript, but it can’t hurt
  • Service Learning Hours or Probation Hours: Some classes/majors or organizations require a certain amount of Service Learning hours so let the school administration know about the project and that you need volunteers so students can be directed towards your cause. Also when students get in trouble they need to get a certain amount of community service hours.
  • Word of Mouth: This was probably the most valuable way to recruit people and often allowed us to guilt individuals into volunteering. Also reach out to certain clubs or organizations that typically do a lot of service work (Progress OWU, Environment and Wildlife Club, etc.)

Volunteer List

One of the greatest successes of this year’s May Move Out was the volunteer list we created. There were three different volunteer positions that individuals could sign up for, and we allotted the number of volunteer slots and times based upon our speculated number of volunteers needed on each day. Our approach is documented in the May Move Out Volunteer List (.xlsx file). A Google Docs version of this file is available from John Krygier).

List of Volunteer Positions and Descriptions

The description of these positions helps shows how we intended these volunteer positions to interact within our donation collection and sorting system

Donation Monitor Volunteer Description:

Your job as Donation Monitor will be to do a walkthrough of your assigned residence hall on the day you have signed up. You will need to go and check the various donation locations and call or text one of the van drivers if you notice a full donation box or a large item in the centralized donation area. This job only requires a short time commitment and can be done at your availability anytime before 4pm.

Donation Collector Volunteer Description:                                                                             

The donation collectors will be helping us pickup donations at the various residence halls, SLU’s and fraternities. These individuals will be helping to move the donated items from the donation locations in the residence halls to the vans. The donated items will then be delivered to the OWU Free Store for sorting and further distribution to charities such as Goodwill & Habitat for Humanity.

Free Store Sorter Volunteer Description:                                                                                

Your job will be to sort the donations delivered to the OWU Free Store. This job involves the seperation of donated goods into predetermined categories (clothes, electronics, school supplies etc.) as well as deciding which items should be left for the OWU Free Store and which items will be given to the other participating charities. We will provide more specific instruction upon your arrival. Free Store sorting will take place in the Stewart Annex, which is next to the jaywalk: 70 S. Sandusky St.

Another important part of the volunteer list was collecting the volunteers contact information, residency, and whether an individual was OWU van certified. We used this information to send out a reminder email a day before an individual’s volunteer shift to make sure they were aware of their commitment. Along with that we had people’s phone numbers to call them in case they missed a shift or if there was a change of plans that day. The information about volunteer’s residency was important because if we were having any problems in a certain dorm or needed some quick help we could reach out to individuals in that dorm or housing unit.

The May Move Out was only two weeks long (last two weeks of spring semester), but regardless of the amount of volunteers helping out the last week will be extremely hectic.

Our donation boxes on every floor of every dorm were filling up as fast as we could empty them and this caused non-stop donation collection all day, especially the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of finals week. We had two OWU vans reserved all day for the entirety of those two weeks and having the vans is crucial. If future students are to tackle the May Move Out next year than they need to reserve at least two OWU vans and ask to have all of the seats taken out, except driver and passenger seats (felt like that disclaimer was necessary). If next years May Move Out Musketeers are able to recruit more volunteers than three vans may be necessary to avoid a bottleneck in time due to a lack of van accessibility.

Shown below is the inflow and outflow of donations from the donation boxes, to the centralized distribution location and ultimately to end destination of these donations.

May Move Out Process

Sorting Process in the OWU Free store

The OWU Frees store, which is the Stewart Annex by the Ross Art Museum, was used as our donation distribution center. The Stewart Annex is a mostly vacant building that is still used by some faculty on the 2nd floor, but we used the first 3 rooms closest to the buildings entrance. These rooms stored the various items we collected and also helped us separate and categorize the donated items. Future students must make sure in advance that these rooms will be available in those two weeks and also all summer (items need to be stored there for next year’s OWU Free store). The school administration may put up a small fight for these rooms, but their reasoning behind denying you these rooms has very little valor; a group of alumni use one of those rooms once a year in the summer. If they make this point tell them that the rooms have been used for this project in the past two years, and that the rooms are so disgusting as it is that they should be ashamed for allowing alumni to step foot in those rooms. Often if you reason through the argument of aesthetics and alumni enjoyment then you can attack the heart of the beast known as the OWU administration.

Shown Below is a variety of pictures we captured from the project and the layout of the different rooms in the Stewart Annex.

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Recommendations/Advice

Learn from our mistakes. I advice all future group that want to take on the May Move Out project to learn from the successes and failures of the past two years of May Move Out’s and improve the project. Please fell free to use any of our signage (Download zipped file of signs here) Google Doc Spreadsheets (previously linked, here), or presentations that we used this year. Also understand that there are many improvements that could be made to our signage, Google Docs, donation bin layouts, etc. and alter these aspects of the project in a way that you see fit best.

The donation boxes we used were given to the school by the International Paper Company; make sure you have over 200 of these boxes at your disposal. OWU typically uses these boxes during large events or graduation when they need easily accessible trash bins, but they should have extras. Contact Building and Grounds in advance about the number of boxes you will need and establish a good relationship with someone in B&G, they can be a huge help for this project when it comes to needing supplies.

Try to recruit as many volunteers as possible. The success of the May Move Out project relies heavily on volunteer participation. The last two weeks of the semester is a difficult time for students, but try to get early commitment from individuals. Also reach out to University administration and faculty; they often have the ability to convince/force students and/or staff to help out. Reach out to the Delaware community for participation. Individuals from the Delaware community expressed interest in helping out this year, but we never had time to follow through with them. At the end of the semester some individuals from the Delaware go through the OWU dumpsters and collect items for charities so there is definitely interest within the community for this type of project.

Make sure you keep strong communication with Res Life and be transparent about exactly what you plan to do. Try to also get more involvement with Res Life physically helping out with the Move Out considering this project overlaps with many of Res Life’s job duties. We had originally asked that the RA’s be more involved with the May Move Out because it pertains to proper room check out and disposal, but we received very little help from the RA’s. My advice is to be really persistent with the RLC’s in getting the RA’s to be involved with the May Move Out. The RA’s do not have to be physically collecting donations, but they should be notifying volunteers when the boxes are full or helping advertise for the event. The RLC’s may tell you that the RA’s already have a lot on their plate and this would be too much extra work; they are lying. You would most likely be asking for a small time commitment and it would fall within their job description of managing the room check out process.

Advertise as much as you can. There are mixed feelings about the best way to advertise around OWU’s campus, but hitting all the different avenues can’t hurt. However, in the grand scheme of the project and regarding time management, this should be a fairly small portion. The bins in each resident halls are pretty self explanatory so students often know the boxes are for donations, but the advertisements around campus could explain the project and also see if students would be interested in volunteering.

Note: The document below describes the first May Move Out, modified for the second May Move Out in 2013, as described above. As with the 2013 report, this report has not been updated so some of the information is out of date.


May Move Out Spring 2012

Sarah D’Alexander, Sean Kinghorn

The Problem

Every year at the end of the spring semester, the strategically placed dumpsters all over campus become completely full and have to be emptied several times during move out week. This would not be such an issue if the dumpsters were full of garbage. However, upon closer inspection, one can find: printers, furniture, clothing, books, lamps, chairs and a wide variety of other reusable things that do not belong in a landfill. This is due to the fact that many students don’t have the time or the ability to transport all of their things back home in the rush of moving out, so they choose the path of least resistance —throwing it away.

We wanted to change this. Colleges all over the United States have dorm move out programs, and we wanted Ohio Wesleyan to be included in this demographic. Our mission was to make donating reusable furniture, school supplies, etc. to be as effortless as throwing them away. This way students would, by default, donate their extra things instead of throwing them into the dumpster. This is not only important for its environmental implications, but it would also economically benefit the university to not have to hire a truck to come empty the dumpsters so many times.

Our overall goals for this project were to:

  • Reduce the amount of solid waste students produced
  • Enforce the reuse of unwanted things
  • Increase awareness on the importance of donating unwanted items
  • To support the OWU Free Store which will be an active resource for the students on campus by the fall semester of 2012.
  • Create a program that is continued every year

Project Setup

Organizing this project was a very large task because in order for it to be successful we needed as many people on campus as possible to be aware of our efforts. We also knew that we were going to need a lot of help!   Upon researching what other schools had done we formulated a “to-do” list. We first had to plan the time-line for the project, so we could make sure that we could get everything done in a timely manner. To do this we worked extensively with Sean Kinghorn, the University’s Sustainability Coordinator, to help him organize and run the project. We also contacted Residential Life and Building and Grounds on campus, so they would be aware of what we wanted to accomplish and to get their cooperation and support. We wanted to collect a variety of things, so we created a donation list that we could hang with the donation bins, so students knew what they could drop off.

Next, we had to recruit volunteers. We did this by advertising our project and our need for student help in any way we could. We posted advertisements in the OWU Daily, created a facebook event where we could keep interested people updated on our progress, put up fliers, and contacted organizations on campus who could help provide volunteers such as: E&W, Circle K, Progress OWU and WCSA.

We tried to get a volunteer representative from each SLU, Fraternity and dorm on campus. This way we could make sure that we had a representative at every donation location that could be available to answer questions, help put up fliers, and let us know when donation bins needed to be emptied. We communicated with volunteers through email and through group meetings where we discussed the logistics of the project.

Gathering Resources

Nearly all of the resources we needed for the project, were donated, borrowed or already owned by the University. Goodwill donated large blue bins with wheels, which we put in each dorm to help move the donations. We also had several dozen large cardboard boxes donated to the university, which we put in each dorm for people to drop off clothing, non-perishable food, and small personal items. Buildings and grounds, while cleaning out storage units, came upon a couple of dozen small hard plastic recycling bins, which we put in the public bathrooms and laundry rooms for people to donate their left-over detergent, shampoo, soap etc. to local charities. All the other cardboard boxes we needed were given to us by the Thompson store.

Day of the Event

This event lasted about two weeks long, as we started receiving donations two weeks before the end of the school year. However, the majority of the donations came during finals week, when people began moving out. Sean Kinghorn and all available volunteers went around to each dorm every day to empty the donation boxes.

We sorted the donations into two piles: one that would go to a charitable organization and one that would go back to the students through the OWU Free Store. Due to our limited space we only accepted appliances, electronics, like-new clothing, and school supplies for the OWU Free Store. We kept these donations in a room at the OWU Annex, next to the Ross Art Museum, to be sorted through and organized.

The busiest days for collecting donations were the last day two days of finals (the Thursday and the Friday the majority of students had to move out by). We had so many donations that it took all morning and afternoon to get through all of the dorms, which we had to return to multiple times a day, since students were constantly dropping off unwanted things during the day.

Also, on the Saturday before finals week, we had the Habitat for Humanity Restore truck on campus all afternoon to collect larger items, such as furniture and appliances. This was especially useful this year because, due to a change in policy, the Fraternity Houses had to get rid of all of the furniture in their houses and the SLUs had to empty their storage rooms. We also had volunteers stationed at the truck to collect clothing or other donations that the Restore truck does not collect.

Results

By the end of the move out, we had collected an astonishing amount of items. A rough calculation determined that there were about 230 boxes donated to Goodwill (11,500 pounds); 2,000 pounds of furniture donated to the Habitat for Humanity Restore, 750 pounds of clothing and linens donated to the Community Free Store, and 70 boxes of donations went to the OWU Free Store (5,250 pounds). This resulted in a net weight of approximately 19,500 pounds of donations (nearly 10 tons!!!)

Also, the dumpsters themselves were emptied much less often than they had been in past years. For example, the large dumpsters behind Smith were emptied for the first time at about noon on the Friday after finals week, when ordinarily they would have already been emptied twice by then. 

Tips

Since this was the first time a project like this had been attempted, there were a number of things that we could have done better.

  • This is a large project so make sure you have at least two committed students heading the efforts along with a staff or faculty advisor
  • Although we had been prepping and discussing the project all semester, we really didn’t start putting boxes out and meeting with the volunteers until mid-April. In the future, it would be better to devise a solid schedule ahead of time. This will make sure you stay on task, keep the volunteers notified on what is going on, and make sure there is a pick-up schedule for all of dorms.
  • Getting committed volunteers was also a problem for us. Although we had been gathering volunteers since March, and we had about 30 responses, barely any of them actually showed up to help on the Thursday or Friday pick-up days. We did, however, have a few committed volunteers in each dorm who really helped us put fliers up and kept us updated on the status of the donations in their dorm.
  • We only had one volunteer meeting to discuss the logistics of the project and, although there was a good turn out, not all of the volunteers could attend. In the future, having a volunteer meeting every couple of weeks would be beneficial; this will help commit the volunteers to the project. During this time you can devise a schedule to make sure you have volunteers each day of the move out week, and assign duties to each volunteer to make sure everything gets done.
  • Even though we had an overwhelming number of donations there were still a number of residences where we did not actively collect donations. We did not have any volunteers from the Williams Drive Residences (4, 23, or 35) and we could not set up boxes there ourselves because only people living in those dorms have access inside. Also, we had participation from only a few SLUs (Tree House, Cow House, House of Thought and the Modern Foreign Language House) we did not have representatives from the other SLUs, so we could not effectively collect donations there. We had a similar problem with the Fraternities where we only had active participation from a couple of them (Alpha Sig and Phi Delt).
  • We only had one van that we used to pick up things from each dorm. This made the pick-ups quite slow, since the van had to take a load to Goodwill or the OWU Free Store after nearly ever dorm. Hiring or getting a volunteer to drive another van would be a huge help in the future.
  • It would have been helpful to have the support of other campus organizations as well. Nearly all of the help we did receive was from members of the Tree House and the Environment and Wildlife Club. It would be beneficial to contact as many organizations as possible, since they already have a group of committed students who could likely help. Organizations to consider are: SLUs, Circle K, Progress OWU, fraternities, sororities, WCSA, and members of ResLife.

When inspecting the dumpsters they contained no visible reusable items, which was a huge accomplishment. However, we did see a lot of recyclable things thrown away. There were more bags of plastic bottles, cans, and cardboard boxes than there was garbage! To take this project one step further in the future, it would be worthwhile to come up with a way to divert the amount of recyclable things thrown away. This could be done by emphasizing what can be recycled, communicating more effectively with buildings and grounds, and putting volunteers on “dumpster duty” to monitor what is going into the dumpsters.

DIY Food Workshop

Making and eating food is one of the most socially and biologically important human activities. Making healthy food is much easier, and more fun, than most students think. In order to encourage social DIY cooking on campus, with an emphasis on healthy eating, we developed a DIY Food Workshop. The workshop covered basic cooking skills and healthy DIY food options, with an emphasis on interaction and engagement. The event ends with a meal, consisting of foods prepared during the workshop. The first workshop was held in the spring of 2012.

diy_cooking

Making and eating food is one of the most socially and biologically important human activities. Making healthy food is much easier, and more fun, than most students think. In order to encourage social DIY cooking on campus, with an emphasis on healthy eating, we developed a DIY Food Workshop. The workshop covered basic cooking skills and healthy DIY food options, with an emphasis on interaction and engagement. The event ends with a meal, consisting of foods prepared during the workshop. The first workshop was held in the spring of 2012.


DIY Food Workshop

Date: April 2012

This workshop may be offered again if there is interest. Please contact John Krygier if you are interested in holding another DIY food workshop.

Project research, organization and planning: Olivia Gillison (project for Geography 360: Environmental Geography & Independent Study).

Guest Chef: Del Stroufe, Chef & Educator, Wellness Forum Foods, Columbus OWU Chefs: 5 OWU faculty, staff, or students with cooking skills to assist

Event Publication: OWU Eating Green Map, Guide, and Cookbook: Includes information on student-accessible kitchens, sources of ingredients, cooking glossary, basic kitchen tools and ingredients to have on hand, and suggestions for cooking & eating social events.

1. Talk: Introduction (30 minutes): Del Stroufe provides an overview of DIY cooking and healthy eating, and an introduction to the workshop.

2. Talk: DIY Cooking on Campus: the Facts (30 minutes)

  • available kitchens & cooking tools
  • portable cooking setup (camp stove, etc.)
  • local / organic food options
  • buying ingredients from Chartwells with food points
  • off campus food purchase options
  • encouraging healthy DIY social cooking & eating

3. The Menu & Preparation (2 hours)

  • Smith: drinks but don’t eat other food!
  • Minimize bothering staff: Dan Magee
  • participants split into groups of 4 (10 groups max)
  • five dinner courses: workstation for each: soup, stir fry, pasta, pizza, dessert (fruit crisp)
  • workstation: preparation of ingredients, assembly, cooking

3a. Basic food preparation skills

  • hands-on experience with skills needed for workshop cooking

3b. Food assembly and cooking

  • each group of participants experiences each workstation

4. Eating & Future Workshops (focused on different recipies, cooking skills, global cuisines, etc.)


Workshop outline & booklet (PDF): DIY Cooking: Do-It-Yourself Cooking Workshop for Students