Buena Vista University is donating used furniture from White Hall to six non-profit organizations in Iowa. The organizations started picking up the furniture — which includes a total of over 600 desks, beds, mattresses, and dressers — on Feb. 2. BVU students, faculty and staff helped with the project.
The donation of furniture is part of BVU’s overall efforts to achieve greater sustainability across the Storm Lake campus. It is anticipated that the donation will minimize the amount of used furniture that will have to go to the landfill, according to Tanya Landgraf, purchasing manager, who has been coordinating the project.
The used furniture comes from the ongoing multi-million dollar renovation of Pierce/White residence halls, which began last fall. At the start of the spring semester, students moved into the recently renovated Pierce Hall. Construction on White Hall is already underway. The building improvements include new furniture, a new space for lounging, remodeled bathrooms, a new multi-purpose space, and an elevator. The entire project is scheduled for completion by August 2012.
“We started donating furniture to non-profits by the truckload a couple of summers ago when we replaced mattresses in a few residence halls. This undertaking for clearing out White Hall is our largest donation effort to date both in the quantity of furniture being donated and the number of non-profits involved,” says Landgraf.
When construction began on Pierce Hall in 2011, the majority of its used furniture went to The FreeStore in West Des Moines, SOS Thrift Store in Storm Lake, and Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. in Storm Lake. The remaining furniture was offered for sale to the general public.
“The donation from the University is greatly appreciated,” says Shirley Kelley, a manager at SOS. “All of the proceeds from the sale of these used items go to St. Mary’s Schools and therefore benefit a great cause.”
Other non-profit recipients of the used furniture include Love INC, Sheldon; Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way, Fort Dodge; the Gospel Mission, Sioux City; The FreeStore; and Justice For All, Rock Valley.
Recently, BVU has become a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an organization that encourages sustainability efforts at colleges and universities.
Both Pierce and White Halls will become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified once the building renovations are completed. LEED is a rating system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council to assess environmental effectiveness
Another recent BVU sustainability initiative was the installation of energy-efficient washers and dryers across campus. According to Keith Schmidt, director of facilities management, these new machines will result in a 33 to 50 percent decrease in water usage. Students will also have the ability to be notified via e-mail or text message when their load of laundry is completed, and can check to see what machines are in use.
In addition, BVU has also replaced natural grass with artificial turf on Peterson Field at J. Leslie Rollins Stadium, which will also reduce water usage.