By Brent Brooks
Every May I walk out of my apartment to see dumpsters that are bigger than a newborn whale. Sure, that is an exaggeration, but you know exactly what I am talking about. Waste Management drops off these large, green containers and the students of Olivet feel this unspoken obligation to fill these things to the top. This breaks my heart. Last year I found at least three couches, two bikes and several bookshelves.
The end of the year is fast approaching and these dumpsters are coming. Just because they are here, doesn’t mean we have to use them though.
Instead of simply donating these items to decay in landfills, why can’t we give them to a second life? Something needs to be done about all of this waste. I think we can do it this year and I think we can do it rather easily.
Here is what I suggest:
Instead of renting these large dumpsters, Olivet should rent U-Haul trucks.
Throwing out a couch is easy because dumpsters make it that way. They sit about five feet from our door and are spilling over with junk that your roommate already decided to relocate. This is far simpler than finding a friend with a truck, asking him or her to help you lift the couch and then drive to a donation center.
Well, why can’t a U-Haul truck just replace that dumpster? It would actually be easier to throw a couch into a truck that was made to carry furniture. After the trucks are full, student volunteers could take the furniture to one of the several donation centers we have in this area.
Still too much work? What about a student garage sale then?
We could host these in dorm lobbies, apartment parking lots, the Olde Oak Tree House or even College Church. Come drop off clothes, furniture, movies, music, etc. In the process, students can make money. That is, after all, the point of a garage sale.
In order to actually make money off these items, we could even advertise this giant garage sale to the community. Or, since we are all college students, we could barter. This could also be accompanied by an Olivet hosted website resembling “Craigslist.” No matter how we approach this particular solution, everyone wins. After all is said and done, the remaining items could then be donated.
If these ideas are still too much work for you, then just leave the stuff in your room. Seriously. What if we put together a team of volunteers to clean out dorm rooms and apartments? When the RAs are clearing rooms, they could simply approve and disapprove items for donation.
If you really don’t want to move that couch that has kept you company for four years, then just leave it. If your RA says it’s still in good condition, it can be donated later.
If that won’t work, then we could implement a similar system and take our items to the nearest common room (dorm lobbies, The Tree House, etc.).
Perhaps the simplest of all solutions is self-discipline. You, personally, know how wasteful you are better than anybody else. If you are the person who throws away useful things that the underprivileged could use, then change.
This could be the year you make a difference instead of contributing to the issue of global waste. I will do my part and try to implement some of these solutions.
I have already found various places to store my large items. I still don’t know if I want to take my TV with me for the summer or leave it with my little brother. Either way, I am putting all of the things in my apartment to good use. I have already begun to donate numerous bags of clothes to various thrift stores, and I encourage you to do the same.
Now you do your part and start giving back.
• Brent Brooks is a junior at ONU and can be reached at email@example.com.