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YMCA at Virginia Tech begins its largest sustainability initiative of the year


   

A volunteer sets up a table. YMCA student programs coordinator Ayla Wilk works at one of last year's Ytoss collection points.


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 7, 2014 – What began as a student idea in 2006 has grown into the YMCA at Virginia Tech’s largest sustainability initiative. 

Eight years ago, members of the Y’s staff and volunteer team noticed the large amount of usable material being thrown away during move out, so they decided to organize the first Ytoss collection that spring. 

The tradition has continued since.

This year, the Ytoss collection will be held May 9 though 15 with seven collection points around the Virginia Tech campus. Collected items will be sold at The Ytoss sale on Aug. 21 and 22, when students return to campus this fall. 

“The Ytoss sale is a great place for students to find deals on pretty much everything they need for a residence hall room or apartment," said Ayla Wilk, student programs coordinator for the YMCA at Virginia Tech said. "Popular items include mini-fridges, desk hutches, chairs, shelving and storage units, microwaves, lighting, loft railings, bedding, rugs, alarm clocks, and printers.”

New this year during Ytoss collection will be stations open during graduation to collect and recycle caps and gowns.

Proceeds from the Ytoss sale support the YMCA Student Programs, a registered student organization connected with the YMCA at Virginia Tech. The organization has served the New River Valley community since 1873. Throughout the school year, the Y offers after-school programs, a tutoring program, a program for the elderly, alternative service breaks, and special events such as Healthy Kids Day.

All this is made possible through volunteer work and sponsorships. The Town of Blacksburg, Blacksburg-Christiansburg Rotary Club, BCR Properties, Freedom First Credit Union, Southern Virginia Properties LLC and Virginia Tech's Office of Sustainability, Division of Student Affairs, Student Centers and Activities, and Recreational Sports have all donated to or provided in-kind services to the Ytoss program for this year's event.

“We do a lot for the community and Ytoss sale proceeds help keep it all going while simultaneously keeping nearly 12,000 pounds of material out of the landfill," said Wilk.

Those interested in helping are invited to do so on the Ytoss Volunteer sign-up site.

Written by Drew Knapp.

Ytoss sustainability

Since its inception in 2006, together with partners and sponsors Ytoss has   

  • Diverted more than 80 tons of gently-used household items from the waste stream.
  • Engaged over 800 community volunteers in service to students and families.
  • Contributed to Virginia Tech’s ranking as a Silver member of the Association of the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
  • Generated over $40,000 to reinvest in student-led programs that nurture the potential of youth and teens, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families, and inspire social responsibility throughout the New River Valley.

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