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Moving out, the green way

The CMU Sustainability Council is growing in members and initiatives. The council manages a student-run university garden and composting facility at Western Colorado Community College. It provides recycling resources especially at campus events and last week held events every day to celebrate Earth Week.

Their next big initiative is the Move-Out Program.

There are 12 residence halls on campus with more than 2500 beds. Throughout the year, students living on campus accumulate many belongings from refrigerators and microwaves to TVs and clothes drying racks. Then, on move-out day, many of these items end up in a dumpster. This new program is designed to reduce the amount of waste from CMU residence halls that end up in the landfill.

“In a nutshell, the last two weeks of the semester we will be collecting items from the dorms,” said sophomore and Sustainability Council Vice President Meghan Cline. “We have a storage space where we will be storing the items over the summer. Then during the fall move-in weekend we will sell those items at a super-reduced cost to new students.”

Habitat for Humanity will pick up any items not sold during move-in weekend in the fall.  

The idea for this project started last October when the CMU Sustainability Council executive staff attended the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference. CMU sustainability members attended a seminar by the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN), which helps students at universities across the nation develop sustainable solutions to common campus problems.

The Sustainability Council developed a manual on how the Move-Out Program would work and then worked with facilities and Residence Life to make this program a reality for the spring 2018.

“We’re trying to start with the little things ... and show students that it is easy to buy second hand and that makes a huge impact on what goes to the landfill and what doesn’t,” Cline said.

There will be drop-off locations located in the lobby of each dorm. Since this is the first year, the Sustainability Council will accept only certain items including appliances like mini-fridges, microwaves, TVs, vacuum cleaners, blow dryers and cable cords; kitchen items including coffee mugs, Keurigs, cutlery and plates; storage items like hangers, plastic tubs and laundry baskets; accessories for the room including bulletin boards, frames, mirrors, trash cans and bed risers; cleaning supplies; outdoor items and more.

The money raised from selling the items at a reduced cost to incoming students in the fall will go back into the program. Cline said one day they would like to be able to buy an industrial scale to weigh the amount of items that are not ending up in the landfill due to this program.

“We are a disposable generation — use it once, if it’s broken don’t bother to fix it or, if it’s old, don’t need to fix it. We want to push CMU students out of that mindset,” Cline said. “This is a huge thing of being sustainable, reusing what’s not broken and diverting less weight and mass to the landfill.”

The Sustainability Council will post available items to its Facebook page throughout the summer, if incoming students are interested in seeing what will be available at fall move-in. For more information, email [email protected].