Shannon Schumacher drives a hybrid car and doesn’t own a computer printer. She eats locally grown organic food and drinks coffee and water from a reusable container. These are just some of the ways in which the University of San Diego senior-to-be International Relations and Spanish double major lives a sustainable and environmentally focused life.
So, when Schumacher, who was the Associated Students’ Director of Sustainability and Wellness and this past year as an intern for the Office of Sustainability, had an idea for the 2012-13 USD One Challenge initiative no one was surprised. The USD One Challenge, through a collaborative effort between USD’s Changemaker Hub and the Office of Sustainability, sought campus-wide input for solutions to reduce the environmental impact caused by waste production and consumption.
Schumacher, a Missions B student resident assistant (RA), directed a “Green Move-Out” program to get more than 2,200 USD resident students, upon leaving for the summer, to put items in conveniently placed bins for recycling, reuse or to donate back to the community. Eligible items included clothes, towels, school supplies, books, furniture, canned food and electronics, the latter which was sent to USD’s E-Waste Center on the far west end of campus.
“Move out is always crazy,” Schumacher said. “It’s a crazy time for everyone because there’s a mad dash to get moved out soon after students take their last final. It’s often easier for students to just throw things into the dumpster than it is to sort through everything and figure out what can and can’t be donated.”
Schumacher’s idea met the objective of the One Challenge and was right in line with the university’s pledge to become a “zero-waste campus.” The Green Move Out, and other events like it, is an opportunity to educate the community and to divert as much campus waste as possible from local landfills.
“I was really pleased with what happened, the amount of waste that will be diverted and the donations we had,” said Schumacher. “For a first time (Office of Sustainability) doing it, I’d say it was very successful.”
Dayanne Izmirian, assistant dean for Residential Life, was pleased to have Schumacher and the Office of Sustainability’s close involvement with the move-out program this year and hope it can be the norm.
“Residential Life has run it for years, but what the Office of Sustainability did took it to a whole different level,” Izmirian said. “It makes sense for this idea to come out of their office. What I appreciate most is the partnership that has developed. They’re doing this in a more comprehensive way and making it more convenient for the students to divert more stuff. It helps us, too, during what is a very busy time for our staff.”
Schumacher and sustainability office employees — Michael Catanzaro, Paula Morreale, Brianna Tracy and USD E-Waste Center’s Arthur Atkinson (top photo, with Schumacher) — marketed the event, told other RAs about it, sent out email blasts, utilized social media, organized bin placement and pick-up and handled other logistics to make it work.
“It’s amazing that despite having a small staff we’re able to do so much when there are thousands of students,” Schumacher said. ”I’m looking forward to what we can do now since we have a base of what we did right and what needs to be improved for next year.”
— Ryan T. Blystone
Learn more about USD’s Office of Sustainability, its partnerships, projects and more.
Second photo courtesy of Shannon Schumacher