SECIA and U partner to reduce student waste

SECIA will start promoting its new initiative Thursday at Spring Jam.

Danielle Nordine

This Earth Day, the Southeast Como Improvement Association is kicking off a pilot program aiming to reduce the amount of waste created by University of Minnesota students when moving in and out of apartments and houses. SECIA will start promoting its Move-In, Move-Out initiative Thursday at Spring Jam, hoping to raise awareness about the new program among students. The initiative encourages students to recycle furniture, electronics and other materials that others could use instead of throwing them away, SECIA Neighborhood Coordinator James De Sota said. SECIA has partnered with the UniversityâÄôs ReUse Center to create a âÄúfree storeâÄù where students can donate usable items they no longer want, which will then be available to the public free of charge. For the most part, students will have to drop off materials at the warehouse, but De Sota said SECIA is trying to organize some pick-up days either through the city of Minneapolis or with SECIA staff to encourage more students to participate. SECIA started the program for the large amounts of trash students create while moving in and out of apartments and houses. It received more than $25,700 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the pilot program last summer, De Sota said. The funding went toward creating this yearâÄôs program, which will take place this spring and again in the fall. However, if SECIA can get more funding in the future, the staff hopes to make the program a biannual event, De Sota said. The ReUse warehouse will open May 15 and will be open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until June 5, De Sota said. At least for now, the warehouse is providing the space for SECIAâÄôs program free of charge, ReUse coordinator Chris Hruza said. âÄúWe have a little bit of space available, and this is keeping a lot of stuff generated by U of M students out of the waste stream, so we thought it would be good to get involved,âÄù Hruza said. SECIA is also working with the UniversityâÄôs Student Neighborhood Liaisons, a group of students who work to improve communities around the University, on the project. âÄúWeâÄôre really trying to help reduce the amount of waste and keep usable items out of landfills,âÄù said Kendre Turonie, coordinator of the Office of Student and Community Relations at the University and adviser for SNL. Students will be encouraged to donate items like wood furniture and electronics; however, due to health concerns, SECIA will not be able to accept materials such as mattresses or cloth sofas, De Sota said.