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Sweeps Week: Watching Our Waste

By Campus Ministry 

It’s that time of year again: The home stretch for the spring semester has arrived. While all of our minds wander off towards summer, there is still one major, campus-wide event yet to occur: Sweeps Week.

Everybody’s favorite move-out celebration is returning and this year, it will be bigger and better than ever. Campus Ministry has partnered with Sustainable Merrimack to raise awareness of our campus waste production so we can begin to focus on how to reduce the amount of trash Merrimack generates.

Campus Ministry works with charities located across the Merrimack Valley to facilitate the donation of students’ unwanted and lightly used items. These charities include The Wish Project in Lowell, Lazarus House in Lawrence and Mission of Deeds in Reading. The Wish Project is accepting donations such as furniture and clothing, which will then be distributed free to those who need it. Lazarus House and Mission of Deeds will both take donations ranging from non-perishable food to toiletries, and will distribute them to the homeless or those who have fallen on hard times.

The list of items that can be donated is extensive and will be posted in various locations across campus, as well as on the Sweeps Week Facebook page. Students who wish to donate large items such as furniture will be able to do so with ease, as student volunteers will pick up large donations.

Donations not only eliminate waste but they make a positive impact on the community around us. Everybody wins.

Yet, donations are only half of the Sweeps Week initiative to reduce waste generated during move out. The other goal is to recycle as many items as possible. Sustainable Merrimack is working to expand Merrimack’s meager recycling program to be much more visible and robust around campus. This will ensure that students are better served by the college, as well as help them possess a clearer understanding of how to recycle at Merrimack.

A wide variety of materials can already be recycled on campus, including all plastics, paper, and aluminum. However, the system for collecting these recyclables is confusing. As a result, Merrimack’s student sustainability interns are working to create a simpler and more visually appealing system which will be easy to use and help divert more recycling from the trash. Volunteers will also work to stand by the trash bins and educate students moving out on what can be recycled or donated versus what should be thrown away.

This is a truly massive effort which is going to take a lot of manpower, so if you would like to get involved, please contact us immediately. You can either email Meg Costantini in Campus Ministry (costantinim@merrimack.edu) or contact a student sustainability intern (Jesse Doiron doironj@merrimack.edu or Krysten Moore moorekm@merrimack.edu). By reducing waste and donating to charity, we are creating a better world for us al. Donate, recycle, change the world.

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