Event aims to connect Gustavus to local community
In hopes to reduce campus-wide waste, Gustavus students and members of the community are coming together to hold a community wide garage sale. The event will take place on Saturday, June 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Lund Arena.
Students, faculty, and members of the community will have the opportunity to attend the event and buy and reuse items that would have otherwise been thrown away. Students, as well as community members are encouraged to donate clothing, books, furniture, sporting equipment, and more.
“The profits will be given to the volunteers who have helped us. There’s a brick wall between Gustavus and the St. Peter and the Mankato communities. I think it is important that Gustavus works with and reaches out to the community. I would like the people in St. Peter to have a good perception of Gustavus since we are a big part of the community,” Senior Environmental Studies Major Ashley Hansen said.
Senior Environmental Studies and Biology Major Katie Barta created the project through an Environmental Studies Senior Seminar. The semester-long project is one of my many student-led initiatives that have emerged from the course.
“[In choosing a project], I wondered, “what do we do at Gustavus for sustainability? I read an article about the tons of waste at the University of Minnesota, and I contacted other schools to see what they do about waste,” Barta said.
Barta was greatly influenced by Lighten Up Garage Sale, a student led-initiative at Carleton College that has eliminated tons of waste from campus. The 2012 Carleton College Lighten Up Garage Sale, which has been occuring for over 20 years, has risen over $25,400 for three local nonprofit organizations including Northfield Area Special Olympics, Project Friendship, and The Key: Northfield Union of Youth.
“On average, Carleton diverts 75,000 items away from landfills each year,” Barta said.
Donations for the Gustavus Garage Sale will be accepted between May 5-26 and can be dropped off in community bins in most residential halls. In addition, large trailers lended by LJP Enterprises, a waste hauling and recycling garbage company of Northern Mankato, will be set up behind Southwest and Collegeview Apartments and behind Lund.
“I think students like to recycle and be sustainable, but we are limited here. Gustavus is good at initiating movements, but by offering students another chance to find opportunities to reuse things will help reduce waste at Gustavus,” Hansen said.
Senior Biology Majors Lucy Tongen and Liana Lien have been instrumental in advertising to the college and local communities through various media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, in hopes of making the event a lasting, signature event of Gustavus.
“It’s important that the students know what’s going on and think about where they are [in relation to their environment]. We have been trying to reach out through social media, and advertising at such things as the Wellness fair. We’ve been getting creative with upcoming advertisements and working with such groups as Student Senate and the Organizational Behavior class on campus who are making fliers for us,” Tongen said.
All proceeds and unsold merchandise will be donated to the participating non-profit organizations that have helped to run the event, such as Union Presbyterian Church, Habitat for Humanity Greater Mankato United Way, Disable American Veterans of America, Feeding Our Community Partners—of who run The BackPack Program—and St. Peter local thrift stores. Mankato and St. Peter high school sports teams and National Honors Societies are also planning on providing help closer to the day of the event. Barta, in addition, also recently received a grant from the Coca Cola Foundation to help with the funding of the project.
“When you look outside in the dumpsters on move-out day, you see a perfectly good couch or rug that people couldn’t bring with them or couldn’t find the means to move them. We want students to think about waste and stop throwing items away as a convenience factor. We want them to realize the value of giving and using rather than the value of tossing and throwing,” Tongen said.
“We think this year will be a kick start, and hopefully be a fun event on campus. Our goal isn’t to make money, but to build a community event, divert waste that we don’t use, and help local non-profit organizations,” Barta said.