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Free Fest wins national community service award


Lots of student clothing and apartment furnishing were recycled and donated by former Pioneer Heights residents to help the new Cal State East Bay student residents coming to campus for the fall quarter. (Photo: Sarah Nichols)

  • September 3, 2013

As summer approaches and students prepare to depart the dorms each June, unwanted waste fills dumpsters on the Hayward campus – sometimes illegally. This year Cal State East Bay's Housing and Residence Life staff stepped up efforts to prevent leftover litter by expanding the annual Free Fest, and their efforts did not go unnoticed.

The clean campus campaign won the Pacific Affiliate of College University Residence Halls regional award in June, and then went on to win CSUEB’s first national "Of the Month" honors from the organization, which monthly recognizes the member institution that sponsored the best student residence-related program for the month. Free Fest also received coverage by KTVU Channel 2 News.

“Our goal each year is to reduce waste and allow students to repurpose or reuse items that would otherwise end up adding to the landfill,” said Martin Castillo, director of student housing. “This was the largest turnout for Free Fest since the event’s inception in 2010.”

With additional grant funding from the campus sustainability initiative, a student committee was formed to expand Free Fest for 2013 with an emphasis on increasing sustainable practices and reducing waste during the annual move-out process from Pioneer Heights. Several students were hired to serve as sustainability assistants who helped coordinate Free Fest.

Free Fest provided an opportunity for students living in the residence halls to either swap comforters, hangers, old jeans and other items that they would normally throw out when moving or donate them to charity during the week of final exams. Students were allowed to drop off unwanted belongings in one of the residence hall community rooms, then take a look at desk lamps, laundry baskets or other items discarded by their peers. If students found anything of interest, they were welcome to take those items. Any donations that remained in the community room by the end of finals week were given to charitable organizations.

View the KTVU Channel 2 News video.

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