CSU, Chico News

Diversion Excursion Diverts 17 Tons From Local Landfill

Date: 06-12-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Luisa Garza
University Housing and Food Service

Students and staff from California State University, Chico’s Housing and Food Service and Associated Students diverted more than 17 tons of waste from the local landfill when students moved out of the residence halls this spring.

Throughout the week of May 12, more than 130 students, staff and faculty volunteers captured donations from the 1,600 University Housing residents as part of the 14th annual Diversion Excursion.

The campus sustainability program set a new record this year by donating 34,796 pounds of unwanted furniture, household goods and other items to local nonprofits. The amount represents nearly twice that collected last year.

In addition to sorting 3,477 pounds of recyclable goods, volunteers collected and donated 265 computers to the local nonprofit Computers to Classrooms, 26,134 pounds of household items to Goodwill and 4,290 pounds of food to the Jesus Center and Esplanade House.

In addition, about 580 pounds of mattress pads was donated to Square Deal Mattress Factory, which will convert the foam into carpet padding, and 50 pounds of bicycle parts was donated to a local scrap metal business, said University Housing and Food Services staff member Luisa Garza.

Diversion Excursion is a joint project between AS Recycling and AS Sustainability. It was started in 2000 by then-CSU, Chico student and campus resident Annie Sherman with help from Garza and Barbara Kopicki, the AS’ first recycling coordinator. The University’s Institute for Sustainable Development began participating two years ago.

This year marked the launch of a pilot partnership with Goodwill. The nonprofit recently opened a local store with a large warehouse for storing goods. Garza, who plans to retire at the end of this year, wanted to make sure the program continues.

“It gets stuff out of the landfill and into the hands of people who really need it,” Garza said. “It also educates hall residents about what is trash, what is reusable and what is recyclable. We had 130 students, staff and faculty volunteers on Thursday and Friday of finals week. That speaks volumes about the caliber of Chico State students who are willing to do that.”

Last year, Garza said, a faculty member from Sonoma State University heard about CSU, Chico’s program and vowed to replicate it. In 2014 at that school, housing “eco-reps” collected donations in a model similar to Chico’s.

To learn more about the Associated Students sustainability and recycling programs, please visit www.aschico.com.