CAMPUS WASTE REDUCTION
2019 – Present
We work with campus organizations, residence life, and off-campus students to increase sustainability awareness, support waste reduction and diversion, and increase reusable options.
PSI X MODA MAG POP-UP THRIFT SHOP
Campus Waste Reduction successfully organized a 3 day pop-up thrift shop fundraiser for a local environmental justice organization, People for Community Recovery, in collaboration with MODA magazine March 3rd-5th, 2022. The goals of the project were to create an on-campus location for people to donate their unwanted clothing (diverting waste from landfills), provide an opportunity for people to choose sustainable fashion alternatives, educate students about the importance of sustainable fashion, involve a wide variety of students in sustainability on-campus, and raise funds for environmental justice in Chicago.
CWR collected clothing items from the campus community in mid-February. These donations became the thrift-shop's inventory.
We donated leftover inventory to Brown Elephant Resale Shops, where all proceeds benefit LGBTQ+ health for the uninsured and underinsured at Howard Brown Health
We created a detailed Google Maps link organizing thrift and vintage stores in Chicago and streamed the fast-fashion documentary The True Cost.
MODA Magazine created promotional materials for the event and styled display outfits.
Raised for People for Community Recovery
An Award-Winning Project
The PSI X MODA Mag Pop-Up Thrift Shop received the "Outstanding Collaboration Award" in the 2022 RSO Awards.
Project Group Leaders Will Harding and Izzy Bonito at the RSO Awards Ceremony (Right).
The Pop-Up Thrift Shop won the 2022 Outstanding RSO Collaboration Award! Project Group Leaders Will and Izzy at the awards ceremony.
The Pop-Up Thrift Shop's opening day was packed!
PSI members helped fold, sort, and price the donated clothes the week before the thrift shop opened.
MODA Magazine and co-project group leader Isabella Bonito created a curated table of favorite items.
PSI and MODA Mag members setting up the thrift shop on its final day.
PSI members work the register at the pop-up thrift shop. We made almost $5000 in 3 days!
Project group leaders Isabella Bonito and Will Harding pose with signs advertising the event.
140 people lined up to enter the Pop-Up Thrift Shop in Reynolds Club on opening day.
CLOTHING RECYCLING RESOURCES
After our highly successful PSI X MODA Mag Pop-Up Thrift Shop event in Winter 2022, we are expanding our effort to provide more clothing recycling resources on campus.
We aim to set up a permanent clothing donation bin on campus to provide students and campus community members with a place to donate unwanted clothing. Donated clothes will used for on-campus thrift shops and be sent to our partner, Brown Elephant, a local thrift shop supporting Howard Brown Health. The donation bin will be housed in the basement of Reynolds Club, with an expected 2023 program launch.
We are also working to establish monthly Pop-Up Thrift Stores in student cafés (Cobb and Hallowed). We already set up a donation box outside of Cobb Café are currently working on marketing materials to advertise this resource to the campus community.
Our long-term goal is to set up a permanent, student-run thrift store on campus. We are in communications to find a space to house our permanent thrift store.
OFF-CAMPUS RECYCLING ACCESSIBILITY
We continued our annual "Off-Campus Waste Audit Survey" to collect data on off-campus recycling needs, identifying landlords, issues, and neighborhoods for targeting future efforts. The City of Chicago requires all landlords to, by law, provide sufficient recycling and recycling education to tenants, but from people across campus and the greater Hyde Park community, we know that these requirements are illegally unmet. In our two surveys, we collected recycling data for over 300 students.
We collaborated with PSI's Green Data project group to analyze our survey data. On our end, this has meant data cleaning, summaries, and visualizations, and Green Data has done similar work to produce geographic presentations of our data. Long-term, our goals are to publish our results on the illegal lack of access to recycling, as well as target education and reporting efforts to bring Hyde Park landlords into compliance.
Through our surveys, we identified a high need for off-campus recycling bins and are working to fill the gaps.
STUDENT-RUN CAFÉS: REUSABLE CUPS
After working with the program manager for student retail throughout the year, we re-introduced a 50-cent discount for using reusable cups and mugs in all student cafés. We also discussed the possibility of a punch card system that may begin next year which would work as a further incentive to use reusable mugs at student-run cafés.
TEXTBOOK LENDING LIBRARY
Especially because UChicago is a university on the quarter system, we end up with a lot of textbooks or books for classes that can be reused by future students for future classes. We hope to implement a bookshelf at Reynolds Club to be used as a lending library where students can leave and take books they need for the quarter.
FROM PLASTIC TO COMPOSTABLE
CWR worked with UChicago Dining and Student-run coffee shops to promote alternatives to single-use plastic. The group was successful, and starting March 1st, 2022, UChicago Dining transitioned plastic utensils and bags in Hutchinson Commons, Maroon Market, Midway Market, and cafés operated by dining to compostable cutlery and compostable bags.
The switch originated from CWR's collaboration with College Council to survey students on sustainability in UChicago Dining for the 2021-2022 academic year.
PLASTIC FILM COLLECTION PILOT
In collaboration with the Science, Art, and Sustainability (SAS) project group, we started a plastic package recycling pilot in Woodlawn Residential Commons. In Spring 2021, we placed boxes in the lounges of 5 houses and have promoted through weekly house emails and posters the option of recycling plastic bags and Amazon packaging through these boxes.
In the 2021-2022 academic year, we continued work on this pilot by researching, writing project proposals, reaching out to administrators, and creating educational content about plastic film recycling.