YCC funds West Campus storage, sustainability

Student projects designed to reduce financial and environmental waste will be funded through the Yale College Council’s first-ever 10K Initiative.

After polling the student body last semester, the YCC chose two proposals — one to reduce plastic waste from bottled water and another to resell some items from Spring Salvage to students in the fall — to receive 10K Initative funding, which comes from the council’s budget. YCC also added its own plan to expand summer storage to West Campus to the 10K Initiative, which replaced the 5K Initiative in a new effort to accommodate more proposals, YCC Treasurer Brandon Levin ’13 said.

“Fundamentally, they are all about saving students money and reducing waste,” YCC President Jeff Gordon ’12 said of the projects. “They are sustainability initiatives with real financial payoffs.”

Yale’s West Campus figures prominently into a newly funded project not proposed to students in the YCC’s survey last semester: YCC Summer Storage. Gordon said residential college masters and students have engaged in “huge debates” in previous years about summer storage arrangements in the colleges, pushing some students to make alternate plans.

“As you can see in May, when there’s stuff all over the street and people are paying lots of money to have things stored…it’s clear that there could be a major improvement if we worked to address this,” Gordon said.

He said students will be able to store personal belongings at West Campus over the summer for a small fee. Though Levin said the YCC has yet to finalize the details, he added that the council will facilitate depositing and retrieving furniture.

Students chose the “Trash to Treasure Initiative” from a group of four projects in a survey last semester. Designed to reduce the amount of waste produced as students move out of dormitories at the end of the school year, Trash to Treasure will collect useful unclaimed items from Spring Salvage bins and store them at West Campus facilities over the summer, Levin said. The items will then be resold to students by YCC at a Campus Yard Sale in the fall. Proceeds from the sale will go to charity, Levin added.

The second student-selected program is a “Hydrating Stations Initiative.” The program will offer free rental to student organizations of hydration stations that can be attached to any water spigot and provide unlimited chilled and filtered water around campus, said Sam Bendinelli ’13, who chairs the undergraduate organization “Think Outside the Bottle.” Bendinelli’s group will administer the rental of hydration stations, which are engineered by Yale Dining to reduce plastic waste.

“Basically, we’ve been working to try to make as many events on campus as bottled-water free as possible,” Bendinelli said of the group’s goal.

The YCC received about twenty proposals last semester, and sent the projects to an exploratory committee assembled by the council to narrow the options. Other proposals included plans to improve cell phone reception in residential college basements and an updated online laundry notification system.

The first 5K Initiative funds were awarded in 2008, when YCC used the money to found the Bass DVD Library.

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