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Binghamton University students recycle old technology, prevent e-waste

Center for Civic Engagement, ResLife, CollectIt encourage students to donate old electronics to promote computer literacy

From May 9 to 18, Binghamton University students can donate all clothing, housewares and electronic waste by placing them in collection bins in their residence halls.

Tycho McManus/Staff Photographer CollectIT is gathering electronic waste with E-Waste Drive 2014 boxes that can be found throughout campus. From May 9 to 18, Binghamton University students can donate electronic waste — as well as clothing and housewares — by placing them in collection bins in their residence halls.

Only items personally owned by the donor are welcome, and students may not donate University property or items that have been purchased with federal funds, since they are considered public property.

The electronic waste is being gathered by CollectIT, an organization founded by Oyunkhand Baatarkhuyag, a senior majoring in accounting, and Dali Lu, a senior majoring in management. CollectIT has partnered with the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) and Residental Life to hold the Dorm Clean-out Resource Drive to collect clothing and household items in addition to electronic waste.

Baatarkhuyag and Lu created CollectIT after they won Ernst and Young’s “Your World, Your Vision” national campaign, which invites students to create projects that will make a difference in their community, in spring 2013. They proposed teaching computer literacy courses to the community and implementing e-waste initiatives on the BU campus.

“It’s also nice that we can couple the e-waste initiatives with the computer literacy aspect — funneling usable computers back into the CCE’s Bridging the Digital Divide community computer literacy classes,” Lu said.

The team received the $10,000 grand prize, which has gone toward improving the curriculum for Bridging the Digital Divide, marketing for the e-waste drive and purchasing bins and supplies. Their last e-waste drive happened in fall 2013, collecting 1,200 pounds of electronics in three days.

“We are hoping to minimize the impact e-waste has on our environment by recycling/donating where possible to make BU even greener,” Lu said.

Electronic waste will go to Geodis Global Solutions in Endicott, a plant that specializes in the safe recycling of electronic material. Usable computers will be refurbished by the CCE to then be used in computer literacy programs in the Binghamton area. All other items are donated to the Binghamton Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army.

Binghamton Rescue Mission will sell its items at Thrifty Shopper, a thrift store on Upper Front Street. All proceeds will help to provide food, shelter and support to end hunger and homelessness in the Binghamton area.

“This is our first time helping with this drive and we are really excited to be a part of it,” said Michael Ross, program manager for the Binghamton Rescue Mission. “I anticipate we will see quite a bit of donations.”

According to Allison Alden, the director of the CCE, the drive helps keep student waste out of the county landfill and allows it to be reused and recycled.

“The resource drive is an important aspect of helping our University become ‘green’ by more responsibly handling all of the items that students leave behind as they move out,” Alden said.

Regina Bell, a freshman double-majoring in linguistics and Italian, said she believed that the drive will allow students to recycle items that don’t have to go to waste.

“People are always buying the latest electronics, and just throwing away their old ones. This drive will help put those to good use,” Bell said. “Also, it’s super helpful that people can donate the extra stuff they find in their rooms when moving out, instead of just tossing it and wasting it.”