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Recycling program aids poor

LIZ O'Donnell | Monday, February 2, 2009

In the spirit of going green, a new recycling program has been implemented on campus to help both the environment and the less fortunate.

The Miraculous Metals recycling program combines environmentalism and social justice to provide assistance to South Bend residents who reside on the streets during the frigid winter months.

“Miraculous Metals has been doing very well so far, but we have a long way to go,” said Lauren Restivo, a sophomore at Notre Dame, who is involved in the program, “Since the program is still getting off of the ground, we are still trying to get the word out about how to participate in the program and increase participation.”

The program allows students at Notre Dame to raise money through the collection of aluminum cans for the Catholic Worker House, a shelter that takes in the homeless on freezing and sub-freezing nights during the winter.

A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to Our Lady of the Road, which is the Catholic Worker drop-in center that takes in the homeless during the daytime.

On campus, each dorm has a designated representative who is in charge of ensuring his or her dorm’s donated aluminum cans are ready for pick-up. Once a week, paid guests from the Catholic Worker House will be at Notre Dame to collect the cans.

While the on campus participation has been fairly strong, Restivo said that off-campus members of the Notre Dame community are urged to participate as well.

“The more off-campus residences we can get, the larger the program will be, and the more money we will raise for the Catholic Worker House,” Restivo said.

Months of prior planning led to the official start of the Miraculous Metals program, which began Nov. 17. The program will run though the end of this semester and through next school year.

The program’s planners have some other goals for Miraculous Metals.

“We hope to show people how easy it is to help out in the community and help the environment – all it takes is a few minutes to separate your aluminum recycling and put it in the designated receptacle,” Restivo said. “Also, we hope to encourage people to find new ways to help out in the community and help the environment.”

Restivo also said that they hoped to eventually extend and invitation to all South Bend residents to participate.

“Once the program has been well-established though, we are looking to reach out to homes in South Bend and include them in the program as well,” Restivo said.

There are a variety of ways in which students can get involved, such as taking time to recycle.

When recycling, students must take the time to separate their aluminum cans from the rest of their recycling.

Also, for students who reside on-campus, there will be dorm-wide e-mails coming soon with more information about participating in the program. In addition, fliers will be posted on dorm recycling receptacles indicating those specified for aluminum collection for the program.

Off-campus students can become more involved with the program by contacting Mike Gotsch (mgotsch@nd.edu). Each off-campus residence that joins the program will be provided with a recycling receptacle for aluminum cans.

Restivo highlighted that the most important aspect at keeping the program alive will be the participation of the student body.

“This program is a great way to be involved in helping those less fortunate than us and the environment at the same time, and it is so simple,” Restivo said.