FSU Theatre and Dance Department Raises Money by Terracycling  

By collecting recyclable waste and sending it to a fast-growing green company called TerraCycle, the Frostburg State University Department of Theatre and Dance has managed to raise over $4,500 for students in the department.

“I was sitting in the dentist’s office, reading a magazine,” said Theatre Professor Mairzy Yost-Rushton, “and there was this tiny little article about fundraisers for elementary schools, and [Terracycle] was in there.” She researched more about the company and found that it was for more than just elementary schools.

“It was a really slow start,” Yost-Rushton explained. “I think the biggest challenge was getting people to realize it was an ongoing thing. People kept dropping off trash and saying ‘Here you go! When is it over?’ And I’m like it’s not over! Just keep bringing me your trash!”

Several departments and individuals have been donating their waste for several years now. “I have what I call my faithful followers across campus, and they’re great,” she said, naming the Nursing Department, Payroll and Student Services, as well as individuals like Dr. Amy Branam-Armiento, Dr. Amy Moore and Dr.  Erica Kennedy.

The influence of the program has even spread off campus into nearby communities, as she noted that she has people from Frostburg and Cumberland who also donate.

“I mean, every little bit helps,” she said, “And I’m awful, my son hates it! I’ll pull my car over going down Bowery Street, and we’ll get out and get all the little red cups on the lawns.”

Yost-Rushton worries that the company does not get the publicity it should. “I wish TerraCycle would put its face out there more, because I think that’s the reason they’re losing some corporate sponsors.” She explained that Frito-Lay recently ended its partnership with the company. “I feel like if their face was better known, this would do better.”

Using TerraCycle, the department has raised $4,514. “That doesn’t sound like a lot, especially for five years, but it’s keeping the environment clean and it doesn’t take much work.”

“It has been a slow but steady climb,” she said, “I think maybe the first year I made $200, but now I can make $200 in a semester, so it’s definitely getting better.”

All the money raised is used to help out students in the program.

She explained, “We just had the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival representative come watch ‘She Kills Monsters,’ and lots of students were nominated to go present their design work or acting work at that festival.” She said it costs a lot of money to send students to those festivals. “This money goes to fund things like that.”

The money raised pays for travel expenses to conferences, auditions and job fairs, as well as for graduate school application fees, headshots, resumes and portfolios.

“It’s funding things that students need to do to further their careers. That’s what it’s for,” she explained, noting that none of the money is used for production costs or equipment for the theatre. “It’s all for them. It always goes to the students.”

According to its website, “TerraCycle strives to be a driving force behind increasing environmental awareness and action. Our goal is to be a trusted resource for families, schools, communities, and even corporations to find tips, stats, facts, tactics, and news to help them live a greener, cleaner lifestyle. Together, we are Eliminating the Idea of Waste®.

“Today, TerraCycle is a highly-awarded, international upcycling and recycling company that collects difficult-to-recycle packaging and products and repurposes the material into affordable, innovative products. TerraCycle is widely considered the world’s leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable, post-consumer waste.”

If you want to donate items, you can drop them off at room 302 in FSU’s Performing Arts Center, or you could email Yost-Rushton at myost@frostburg.edu.


Previous post

Worn Joy, Frostburg's Favorite Indie Band

Next post

Raising Awareness of the Ebola Virus