‘We were so unhealthy’

By Jessica Cohea

It is unusual to think of decorating an apartment as “unhealthy”. Those two concepts just don’t go hand-in-hand.

That is of course unless the decoration includes drinking between three and four cans of pop per day for about four straight months.

Junior roommates Cole Jensen and Casey Mast along with their third roommate senior David Michaels did just that. After four months and one day, they were able to complete their wall of pop cans.

The wall stands in the dining room of their Olde Oak apartment with 601 cans. The men say they have extra cans, too.

“Cole and I were talking about how everyone had something different in their room,” Mast said. “We were just trying to figure out something that would make our apartment kind of homey, but cool at the same time.”

Jensen didn’t expect anything to come out of their brainstorming session though.

 “We always have really big ideas. This was the first one we actually stuck with,” he said.

There is more to the pop wall than just decoration, however. It took planning, money to do so and a solid reason, other than boredom of course, for creating it.

The guys removed the tabs from every can and will be donating them to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) at the end of the semester. They have continued to collect pop tabs even though their masterpiece is complete.

Jensen guesses that they have about 800 tabs ready for the charity, but they are still collecting.

When pop tabs are donated to RMHC, a representative takes them to a recycling center. The tabs are then weighed and the center sends RMHC a check for the value of the tabs, according to rmhc.org. Collecting tabs is more “hygienic” than entire cans.

According to the website, “collecting pop tabs is a great way to teach kids about philanthropy and the importance of recycling, and raise funds to help children and their families at the same time. Some of our Chapters raise thousands of dollars with their pop tab collections.”

Jensen, Mast and Michaels estimated that the wall cost them about $265. That includes the approximate $15 spent on the wood frame.

It’s a lot of money for decoration, “but it’s for a good cause,” Jensen said.

The “good cause” caused health issues for the men though.

“I would be sitting in class and I would get a major headache and it wouldn’t go away until I drank more pop,” Michaels said.

Mast became sluggish with the soda consumption.

“I would wake up in the morning super drowsy and not prepared to do anything,” he said. “Once we stopped, we had so much more energy.”

The guys weren’t too worried about the health risks though.

“I think having the wall, for as unique as it is, is definitely worth the minor health setbacks and cost,” Jensen said.

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