The Bloch Alumni and Advancement Center (BAAC) held its first week-long cleanout earlier this April. From April 2 to April 6, the staff in the building worked to clean out storage spaces, learn about sustainability, and give back to the community.
“Spring Greening” efforts were led by the Green Advancement Committee, made up of, Ryan Balys, Jill Cotter, Diane Crane, Lauren Dunkle, Walter Fitch, Adam Gasiewicz, Eric Ludwig, Melanie Rogala, Jolie Spiers, and Meredith Smith. The Green Advancement Committee also had the assistance of Advancement staff volunteers Carol Personte and Alyssa Cannarozzo to make this week-long event run smoothly.
The Green Advancement Committee is a group of sustainability-minded advancement staff that formed in August 2017. In January 2018, the committee launched a survey on sustainability in the office that went out to all of BAAC to gauge what staff wanted to learn more about. The survey showed that many people in the office had questions about recycling and what can and cannot be recycled. With the information from this survey, The Green Advancement Committee partnered with Sustainability Coordinator Amy Kadrie who kicked off the week with a Recycling Myth Busters Lunch and Learn.
The cleanout began on Monday, April 2 with an emphasis on decluttering the many storage spaces that exist in the BAAC. Large recycling totes and paper shredding bins were stationed in different areas of the building throughout the week for secure paper recycling. According to Green Advancement Committee member Meredith Smith, there were many large storage spaces that held materials from past events as well as office supplies that people did not know the office already had. Since there was so much to do, the storage space cleaning continued into Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday were focused on cleaning out office areas.
Throughout the entire week, there was an emphasis on reusing and donating items before recycling. The Catering Kitchen in the building was repurposed to become a donation center with tables and shelves that people filled with office supplies, electronics, school supplies, and miscellaneous items. On Friday, everything that had been brought to the space throughout the week was opened up as a “Yard Sale” where people from the building could “shop” for anything they could use in their office or could take items to donate to organizations that would make good use of them.
Following the week, the Green Advancement Committee worked with the Jewish Family Service of Rochester’s Pencils and Paper Program to donate unclaimed items that could be used as school supplies. This program provides free school supplies to teachers at high poverty schools in Rochester. The Jewish Family Service reports that, “to date, Pencils and Paper has reached 574 teachers at 36 schools.”
The Green Advancement Committee is pleased with how this event went and is hoping to make it an annual tradition. “I think people had a great time and felt good about participating in it,” said Smith. She is looking forward to doing more events in the future with the Green Advancement Committee. They are considering doing a recycling signage audit and a Nike Reuse a Shoe sneaker recycling event in the upcoming months.
Written by Mariah Greico, Class of 2018