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
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.
CREATING A PERMANENT, ON-CAMPUS CLOTHING DONATION BIN
After our highly successful PSI X MODA Mag Pop-Up Thrift Shop event in Winter 2022, we decided to implement a permanent clothing donation bin on campus to provide students and campus community members with a place to donate unwanted clothing. Donated clothes will be sent to our partner, Brown Elephant, a local thrift shop supporting Howard Brown Health.
We are currently working with Student Centers to secure a location for the donation bin, and we expect a Fall Quarter 2022 program launch.
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. In our two surveys, we collected recycling data for over 300 students.
Our next steps may include landlord reporting, autumn quarter workshops, tenant education, and reports of our findings in local media, like the Southside Weekly, who we spent Spring 2022 building a relationship with.
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 are planning to implement a bookshelf at Reynolds Club in Fall 2022 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.