OSU students help less fortunate before leaving town


CORVALLIS - Mid-Willamette Valley charities received a boost from some 4,000 Oregon State University students leaving town for the summer.

Students joining OSU's eighth annual "Summer Close-out" donated more than 2,500 pounds of goods, including: 600 pounds of food donated to Linn Benton Food Share; 556 pounds of clothing donated to the Assistance League of Corvallis and 1,500 pounds of clothing to the Vina Moses Center.

"It's a fantastic response," said Barry Christensen, recycling operations coordinator of OSU's Campus Recycling. As students leave their campus housing to seek employment or return home for the summer, they drop-off usable clothing and food items at designated collection spots.

In addition to helping local families, the end-of-term collections reduce the amount of refuse that ends up in regional landfills, Christensen said.

The total doesn't include food and clothing collected at the end of the fall and winter terms, he added. For example, in December, more than 400 pounds of clothing, shoes and household goods were donated to Vina Moses and 40 pounds of food was collected for Linn Benton Food Share.

Participation in the program has steadily increased since it began. Each residence hall has recycling stations on every floor and for the summer close-out, Corvallis Disposal aided the effort with special collections, Christensen said.

The residence hall collections help boost the university's waste reduction efforts, Christensen said. Oregon State University's solid waste recovery rate has jumped to 52 percent, surpassing last year's record by 1 percent. The university's annual waste audit, conducted on April 19, revealed an increase in recycling and showed the amount of recyclable material found in the university waste stream was at an all-time low. The audit found only 31 percent of the waste sent to the landfill is actually recyclable, down from 40 percent last year.

The most common material in the campus recycling bins is paper at an estimated 4,470 pounds per day or 21.3 percent of the campus waste stream. Recycled industrial material is second at 3,018 pounds or 14.4 percent.

In addition to working to maximize the amount of recyclable materials collected on campus and minimizing the amount purchased, used and discarded, Campus Recycling works to provide information and educational opportunities to the university community.