Last Thursday, a large mound of trash accumulated on Wilson Quadrangle to demonstrate the amount of unnecessary trash that UR students create. “Mount Trashmore,” as it was dubbed, was composed of the trash produced by Wilson Commons between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. that day. The mound was approximately five feet tall and seven to eight feet wide.

Grassroots member and junior Andrew Spink, in collaboration with Special Events Manager of Facilities Dave Butterbaugh, organized the event. A tarp and fencing around the mound contained the trash and maintained sanitation, as stipulated by Butterbaugh.

The two main goals of the demonstration were to advocate for waste minimization and to show how little the campus recycles. “Earlier in the morning we opened a couple of the trash bags, and we found that about half of what was in there was recyclable,” Spink said.

“The idea for Mount Trashmore came when I was talking to Nils Klinkenberg [’06] two years ago, and he told me that [he] had read about how this had been done at Harvard and a few others schools,” Spink said. Klinkenberg gave Spink some names of who to contact, and Spink began to recruit members of Grassroots to help him plan the creation of Mount Trashmore.

Instead of being transported straight to the trash compactor outside of Douglass Dining Center, trash bags were brought out in front of Wilson Commons as they filled throughout the day and volunteers added them to the mound on the grass. Miscommunications between Grassroots and facilities workers resulted in a lot of the trash taken out to the compactor instead of being delivered to the mound. Also, Dining Services was not contacted about the event and took out a lot of trash independently. Due to the confusion, Mount Trashmore exhibited at most 50 percent of the trash from Wilson Commons.

“Lots of people know about waste and recycling, but they don’t act,” Grassroots archivist and sophomore Dan Grenell said. “This image was powerful and the hope is that students remember it and change their behavior accordingly.”

Friedlander is a member of the class of 2010.



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