By Victoria Cortez – Hesston Staff Reporter & Kendra Burkey – Horizon Advisor
In less than three weeks, students will pack up their rooms and move out. It’s a messy process. And a wasteful one.
For a lot of students, wet towels are easier to toss in the trash than to wash and pack. Cheap room decorations, now with no purpose, get thrown away, too. And those college writing papers, empty Gatorade bottles and pop cans collecting under dorm room desks rarely make it into the blue recycling containers.
The Campus Stewardship Council, a group dedicated to creating sustainable and environmentally friendly practices at Hesston, wants to change that with the 10-Day Give, a clothing drive starting May 1.
A few years ago, after seeing Dumpsters brimming with usable items hastily trashed at the end of the year, Professor Karen Sherriff-LeVan started the Give, which is designed to put a stop to the waste and get usable items into the hands of those who need them.
Randy Toews, a member of campus facilities, has been an instrumental part of the Give since its inception in 2010.
“The 10-Day Give is a great initiative that has already helped many people in need around our area, said Toews. “I hope that students see it as an easy and effective way to first help others who are less fortunate and then, to help keep useful, needed items from being buried in our Earth.”
Here’s how it works: Ten days before graduation, May 1, students are asked to start culling their closets and downsizing their dorms. Shower caddies, clothes, sports equipment, clothes hangers, and school supplies can be donated. In each mod, there will be “10 Day Give” boxes for students to place their unwanted items. Students will be allowed to take anything from the boxes that they can put to good use.
Volunteers will remove items every few days, but students can still swap their stuff: A “Free Store” will be set up in the basement of Erb.
Items not used in the Free Store will be collected and taken to local organizations that distribute them to people who need them.
Last year’s beneficiary was the Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Center (EWARM).
“I see it as a win-win,” said Kendra Burkey, another sponsor for the Give. “EWARM was happy to get the items, and students had a place to put their stuff. Everybody benefits.”
Since the 10-Day Give started volunteers have seen a huge decrease in the amount of trash in the Dumpsters. Students can count on two, 20 cubic yard Dumpsters at Kauffman Court and two others – 20 and 30 cubic yard-sized – at Erb Hall. But Burkey is hoping we don’t need all of them.
“I’d love to see us cut one of those Dumpsters out altogether,” she said. “With just a little bit of planning, and a little bit of thought before we throw stuff away, I think we can meet that goal.”
A forum publicizing the 10-Day Give will be April 25.