Discourse / May 26, 2010

Attention Knox College: We want your trash!

Look around your room. Do you see a microwave? A mini-fridge? A hotplate? A water heater? If you live off-campus, turn the corner to your kitchen. I see a blender, a George Foreman, and drawers of utensils and silverware. Now, back to the room: go to the closet and open your drawers on the way. What percentage of those clothes do you wear regularly? Are there some that flat-out don’t fit? Be honest. As summer approaches and we prepare to leave Knox, we keep some of the items, and throw others away.

For the past ten years, Professor of political science Sue Huelit has asked students what they throw away. The answer: students discard everything from cell phones and printers to shoes and staple guns. Knox College! Huelit wants your trash. Since coming to Knox 10 years ago, she has managed collections for donations by herself.

Let’s face it, we are privileged people. We have our basics needs met and then some. We have the power to help others. Sometimes that help is seen in community service or donating old clothes. Consider single mothers at Safe Harbor. Consider residents who can only afford Salvation Army and Goodwill, where their vintage purchases are made without a fashion statement in mind. Consider the Children’s Home in Peoria where kids are dropped off like bags of clothing. Consider the families in Galesburg who are here because a member of that family is in the local prison.

Readers: my appeals to your pity will not compel you to act to change your habits to benefit an impoverished neighbor. Perhaps living by example will. Huelit has been collecting and donating for ten years but has skirted the student-body radar of awareness for activism. This year is different. Po Chan has joined Sue and approached Student Senate Sustainability Committee for Green Fee funding to provide collection pods on campus. Chan has organized a waste management program to be implemented this week and next. Schools across the country run collection programs that Chan is modeling to connect students’ good intentions with local charities.

In the past, students have traded at the Free Store; however, that venue is quickly overwhelmed by the end-of-the-year influx of donations. Moving and organizing is hard work –ask any Free Store volunteer. Chan recognizes this difficulty, but has a support team to help her spearhead student initiative. So Knox, let’s help fill up these pods!

Take another turn around your room, apartment, or house, this list in hand, and start preparing your donation now. Pods and collection bins are in the locations posted below. In the mad rush to the end, consider preparing your unwanted goods for a more valuable afterlife.

Collectable items:

Carpets, furniture, appliances, toiletries, clothing, school supplies, non-perishable food, mini-fridges, and anything else that is clean and usable!

Cardboard boxes for clothing and food are in dorms and laundry rooms

PODS storage containers are located next to dumpsters outside the C-Store, next to Exc. and behind the Quick Stop.

In addition to donating your materials to the Galesburg community, you can also contribute to the Knox Community through the Free Store or the Facebook group KnoxTrade.

Use the Free Store. Open Hours: May 28th 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., May 29th 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., June 2nd 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. & 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., June 31st 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., and June 4 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Donate your books to the Better World Book Drive by Alpha Phi Omega. Collection boxes are located in Seymour and Post.

Electronics can be taken to the basement of SMC from Reading Day until the Wednesday of Senior Week between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Laura Jorgenson

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