BU Honored for Recycling Program with Goodwill

Spurs recycling, not tossing, clothes and housewares.

By Rich Barlow

From the Sierra Club to the Princeton Review, bouquets for BU’s environmental efforts are blossoming like spring crocuses. The latest is an award for a partnership with Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries that recycled 35 tons of clothing and housewares last May.

The Goodwill Not Landfill program won a third-place Excellence Award from NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education), an advocacy and development group of administrators from 1,400 campuses worldwide. The six-year-old awards, which recognize innovative services in various areas of student administration, drew 205 nominations this year, says NASPA spokeswoman Kaaryn Sanon.

University sustainability director Dennis Carlberg hopes to run the Goodwill collection program at the end of every semester. (A collection at the end of the fall semester garnered more than three tons of goods, he says.) A list of the items that will be accepted at the end of this semester is here.

“This is the first time that BU’s received an award from that organization,” Carlberg says. “It shows we’re being effective.” He’s not kidding: the 35 tons recycled during last May’s Move Out of students leaving campus for the summer was five times the amount recycled during the 2009 Move Out.

The Goodwill Not Landfill program is the most formal partnership that Goodwill has with a school, says the nonprofit’s spokesman James Harder, although there have been sporadic pickups on other campuses.

Goodwill, founded in 1895 in Boston by Methodist minister Edgar Helms (STH 1893, Hon.’40), provides job training and other services to those facing barriers to employment and runs a network of thrift stores. Under the Goodwill Not Landfill initiative, the University and Goodwill have placed collection bins in dorms and in the George Sherman Union and encourage students, faculty, and staff to deposit unwanted clothing and housewares there.

The award caps a string of honors for BU’s environmental efforts, since President Robert A. Brown launched the Boston University Sustainability Committee in 2008.

The Sierra Club last year put BU on its fourth annual list of “coolest schools” for sustainability initiatives. Last year’s Princeton Review Guide to 286 Green Colleges cited the University as well. And on the latest College Sustainability Report Card, issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute and surveying 300 campuses, BU earned a B, its highest grade ever. The report card cited the University’s efforts to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and the fact that it has several staff, including Carlberg, devoted to sustainability measures.

BU has also been cited by the Massachusetts utilities group Mass Save for its energy-efficiency program and by the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange for its sustainability website.

This article first appeared in BU Today on February 17, 2011.  Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

Comments are closed.