CSU, Chico News

Waste Diversion Program at Residence Halls Nets More Than 17,000 Pounds of Reusable and Recyclable Goods

Date: 06-02-2008

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s award-winning Diversion Excursion program once again diverted thousands of pounds of reusable and recyclable goods from the landfill as residence hall students moved out for the summer.

In its ninth year as a partnership between University Housing and Food Service (UHFS) and Associated Students Recycling, Diversion Excursion netted 17,595 pounds of electronics, clothes, canned goods, furniture and other items.

As CSU, Chico students moved out of residence halls May 22 and 23, 160 volunteers at nine stations in the central campus as well as University Village took donations of goods, sorted them and prepared them for new uses.

Luisa Garza, lead groundsworker for UHFS and developer of the program, said the total was very similar to last year. “We had a truckload of computers, quite a few televisions and tons of clothes.” She said the program accepts batteries, textbooks, magazines, office supplies and many other items as long as they are not actual trash.

The program partners with local charities and businesses to provide them with goods. Some of the recipients this year were:
• ARC Thrift Store – 7,038 pounds of clothing, books, dishes and other similar types of goods
• Esplanade House – 4,015 pounds of nonperishable foods, partially used shampoo, conditioner, laundry and dish soap and some clothing
• Torres Homeless Shelter – 1,155 pounds of nonperishable food and some clothing
• Computers for Classrooms – 525 pounds of computer items repaired or recycled for use by local schools
• Square Deal Mattress Factory – 460 pounds of foam egg crate bed pads recycled

In addition, AS Recycling accepted 3,864 pounds of cans, bottles, paper and other recyclable materials.

Students are alerted to the program through information tables and class presentations, and “move out” bins are placed in the residence halls several days early as reminders.

In 2006, CSU, Chico received the Sustainable Operations Best Practices award at UC Santa Barbara’s sustainability conference for the Diversion Excursion program as well as the reuse and waste diversion of portable buildings removed from campus.

“Other campuses have modeled similar programs on ours – we are a leader in this area,” said Robyn DiFalco, Associated Students Recycling coordinator. “The program has a big impact on the people who participate – not just the volunteers, but also the residents. Many had no idea how much stuff is recyclable. They realize they are making a difference.”

Added Garza: “Diversion Excursion accomplishes a lot. We divert 17,000 pounds of recyclable material. We get positive response from housing residents, and some of those ex-residents return to volunteer. The community recognizes that Chico State students – who give their time on the last two days of finals week – are making a commitment. And it shows the charities that college students can be generous.”