Story and Photo by Faith Ulate
Clothes, dishes, books and other used items were lined up on tables in the courtyard at Whatcom Community College in a garage-sale fashion for the Reduce and Reuse Sale on April 23 and 24.
The sale was put on by the Sustainability Club. Its purpose was to give students a chance to buy used items at a low cost while also raising awareness of recycling those items, said Mackenzie Clarke, vice president of the Sustainability Club. The proceeds are going to help purchase a new water bottle refill station for Whatcom.
“We want to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect everyone on campus, and recycling is one way of doing this,” Clarke said.
The goal of the Sustainability Club, as with Western Washington University, is to get rid of all non-reusable plastic bottles on campus which cause so much waste, Clarke said. Water refill stations also make it easy for students to fill up their reusable bottles, without the awkwardness of filling up at a drinking fountain, she said. Students will have easy access to cold, filtered, and free water without throwing away both plastic and money.
“All of the donations for the Reduce and Reuse sale were given by faculty and staff members at Whatcom,” Clarke said. “The sale earned around $393, and all of the proceeds will go to buy another water bottle refill station.”
The Sustainability Club hopes to get these refill stations in every building on campus. Whatcom already has refill stations in Laidlaw and the Auxiliary Services Building, and one has been ordered for Cascade Hall, Clarke said. The funds being raised by the Sustainability Club are going towards buying more of them to distribute throughout campus.
A refill station costs around $1200, Clarke said, however it costs less to add one to an existing drinking fountain. These stations can track how many bottles are being filled in one day, she added.
The Sustainability Club is trying to help students make better choices when it comes to getting water, Clarke said. One way they do this is by giving away prizes of reusable water bottles on Orca Day. The club also holds other fundraisers such as selling popcorn at movies on campus and selling different types of creative artwork.
The Reduce and Reuse Sale furthered two causes: cutting the waste of water bottles on campus and re-selling useable items for a fraction of the cost. “People are consuming too much stuff and now we have a growing problem with waste,” said Coutenay Chadwell-Gatz, the advisor of the Sustainability Club.
“The Sustainability Club is trying to raise funds and at the same time educate students to bring awareness,” Chadwell-Gatz said. “We want students to think about how their actions will affect the environment and our future. We strive to have alternatives that will promote better choices, and having these refill stations is one way of doing that.