On Friday, July 21, the University of Rochester held its seventh annual Shred Fest for University employees. This event is hosted by University Facilities and Services and it provides employees an opportunity to securely destroy and recycle their personal documents for free. Iron Mountain, a company that provides secure shredding services, partners with the University to help make this event possible. This year, a total of 21,380 pounds of paper were collected, making this the second largest collection out of all seven paper shredding events held at the University!
University staff enjoy Shred Fest each year and many had positive remarks about the event to share. “We are very grateful for this event as it has inspired us to clean up our house” said Sherry Schwartz. “The event is a part of planning in life,” said Dr. Ron Schwartz, Professor of Medicine and Imaging Sciences. “You accumulate things in life, and it is important to dispose of your unwanted items properly. It’s a part of letting go.”
Jason Rosenberg of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group Administration saw Shred Fest as an opportunity to help his parents. “My father had twenty years of documents in his home office. I told my parents ‘Let’s get these papers out of here – this is a great opportunity!’ We piled it all into my car and drove it over here,” said Rosenberg. “It’s a good thing for my father because he is working all of the time and does not have a chance to think about these things.”
Chief Social Worker Mardy Sandler seemed to be particularly enthusiastic as she dropped off her documents to be shredded. “It’s my favorite festival of the year!” she exclaimed.
The first annual Shred Fest was held in 2011 to allow people to securely destroy and recycle their personal documents without the worry of their personal information being obtained by others. Shred Fest takes place in Zone 3 South (formerly known as Park Lot), where people can drive up and unload their documents with the help of volunteers. Boxes, bags, and bins of paper are emptied into locked 65-gallon containers and then loaded into the Iron Mountain truck on-site where they are securely shredded. Participants can even watch their documents being shredded via a live camera inside the truck. All the shredded paper is then recycled. All in all, Shred Fest is the perfect opportunity to sustainably dispose of unwanted documents while preventing identity theft.
About 2,500 more pounds of paper were collected this year than last year. This number becomes even more impressive when considering that the Shred Fest volunteers faced some challenging technical difficulties. The shred truck broke down around 11:00 am – a little under four hours before the end of the event. However, the volunteers worked together to keep the day running as smoothly as possible until another shred truck arrived on site.
Sustainability Coordinator Amy Kadrie, who organizes Shred Fest each year, was very pleased with the ability of all the volunteers to overcome the challenges presented and still make the event a success. “I am always grateful for the volunteers who dedicate their time to our events. But this year I was blown away by the way this team came together when the shred truck unexpectedly broke down,” said Kadrie. “They had to work extra hard to ensure that material was kept secure, participants were kept happy and then to get caught up when the second shred truck arrived. I’m really happy to be able to offer this service each year and we will do whatever it takes to maintain the event’s integrity!”
The success of this event was made possible by the many volunteers who worked at Shred Fest, Iron Mountain, and everyone who came to recycle their documents. Event volunteers included Edin Polozanin (Facilities Customer Service Center), Maxwell Sheldon (Horticulture and Grounds), Desmond Wentling (Horticulture and Grounds), Sheron Smisloff (Support Operations), Jefvern White (Support Operations), Michaela Burrell (Support Operations Sustainability Intern), Patricia Van Valkenburgh (Support Operations Sustainability Intern), Elizabeth Pearson (Parking and Transportation), Mike Preston (University Mail Services), and Miguel Alomar (University Mail Services). An extra thank you goes out to Patrick Hamilton of Iron Mountain (featured in image above) who works at the Shred Fest event each year; his ability to find solutions for the technical difficulties presented by the shredding truck was appreciated by everyone participating in the event.
To see photos of the Shred Fest 2017 event, follow the link to our Facebook album.
Shred Fest is held annually by University Facilities and Services, so it will never be too late to start preparing!
Written by Michaela Burrell, Class of 2020