University Facilities and Services holds a biannual eyewear recycling program in an effort to make eyecare more accessible to those in need. Once collected, the eyewear (frames, prescription glasses, sunglasses, non-prescription, etc.) are delivered to the Lions Eye Bank at Rochester, and then sent to The Lions Club International to be cleaned and packaged for those in need around the world. This year, 1,434 people will see better thanks to the contributions of the University and its departments.
The spring eyewear program takes place during the competitive season in which the annual nationwide Campus Race to Zero Waste competition takes place; and in spirit, the program includes a departmental competition with two winning categories: collecting the most pairs and creating the most “eye-catching” box. A total of nine departments competed this year, collecting 692 pairs of glasses. The Flaum Eye Institute collected 341 pairs and an additional 401 pairs of glasses were received through mail-ins. The total of 1,434 pairs of collected glasses set a new record in the program’s almost nine-year run, beating the previous record set in 2021 by 180 pairs! Since the program began in August of 2014, a total of 11,636 pairs of glasses have been collected to help people in need see better.
Congratulations to University Imaging at East River Road, who collected 225 pairs, earning the most pairs acknowledgement. The department whose collection box won the “most eye-catching” acknowledgement goes to the Strong Social Work and Patient & Family Services with their pirate ship theme (pictured left). The department has competed for several years and has previously been voted for the “most eye-catching” design twice! From the puns, to the detailed ships and pirate hat, the Lions Eye Bank hand-picked this winning box.
Receptionist Paula Farmer was the point of contact for Strong Social Work and Patient & Family Services and says that the inspiration for their pirate box started out in a conversation she had with a colleague. “We were saying that old glasses were like hidden treasures,” Farmer explained. “I started thinking that they are buried in drawers at home. Buried Treasure! X marks the spot! Pirates … a trip through Michael’s and the box was born. Our staff is always ready to help others. Donating glasses made us all feel good. We are so lucky to work with such a caring group.”
Sustainability Manager Amy Kadrie would like to thank Paula Farmer for her repeated involvement and efforts in the program, along with Joanne Beach and Karen Guarino, who coordinate the voting for the most “eye-catching” box and deliver the glasses to the Lions Eye Bank. A special thank you also to Wendy Winslow of the Flaum Eye Institute for coordinating the drop-off collection and to University Mail Services for gathering the boxes and the glasses that were mailed in. Finally, in addition to the winning departments, Kadrie extends thanks to all of the departments who competed, including the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University Advancement, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, Real Estate Services and Space Planning, the Department of History, the Office of College Enrollment, and the International Services Office. All of the decorated boxes are pictured on the UR Sustainable Facebook page.
The full results of the Campus Race to Zero Waste competition can be found on their website. Collectively, the 200 colleges who participated in the competition prevented the release of 29,108 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere, which is equal to avoiding the annual emissions from 6,128 cars. The University ranked 24th place in the Per Capita Classic category and 23rd place in food organics. Facilities Team Green led a promotional campaign with several events and activities, engaging with other students and generating enthusiasm for sustainable behaviors on campus.
Every pair of glasses that are donated to this program makes the effort pay off! If you have glasses you’d like to donate, save them for the next collection in August!
Written by Lugardo Marroquin ‘24
Top Image by Josephine LoMando, displays University Advancement’s decorated wall to promote their collection box.