Students raise money through can drive


Students collect recyclable materials in the dorms in boxes, bags and bins. Photo by Emily Stroble

Chaplain Mary Hulst announced in LOFT on Sunday, Feb. 4, that students living on campus will be collecting pop cans to support the Community Care Fund.

“Usually, the pop cans go through our single stream recycling,” said Becki Simpson, associate dean of residence life. “But we allow the students to collect the pop cans and use the money for whatever cause they choose.”

Now, dorms will have the opportunity to work together to give to the Calvin community as well as the environment.

The Community Care Fund “cover[s] the unexpected expenses incurred by students facing family or medical emergencies,” according to Calvin’s student giving page. Gifts collected during LOFT services support this fund.

Tara Boutelle and Seanna Johnson, first-year students in Bolt-Heyns-Timmer (BHT), came up with the idea over Christmas break and began implementing it over interim.

Boutelle was inspired to give back during a Christmas sermon at her home church, and then she remembered the Community Care Fund.

“This program is incredible; it truly shows how strong and supportive our community is here,” she said.

Boutelle texted Johnson her idea to collect cans, who suggested that they expand the project to include all of campus.

“As a student, I know that giving financially is sometimes difficult, especially with paying for major costs such as tuition, room and board, etc. However, Seanna and I strongly believe that everyone can make a difference, and one way to do that is simply recycling a few cans” said Boutelle.

Boutelle and Johnson started in Heyns, then expanded to Timmer, then Bolt. Now, they have 16 boxes in BHT and Schultze-Eldersveld and want to include every dorm on campus.

“We are hoping to connect with the sustainability coordinators from each dorm building and bring the collected cans over to Meijer together once a month,” said Boutelle.

Interested students should note Meijer will only buy cans from carbonated beverages sold at Meijer.

Boutelle and Johnson would like to see can bins in academic buildings, at campus safety and all over campus.

“So far, we have collected 87 cans from BHT since January,” said Boutelle.

The Community Care Fund meets approximately 12 to 15 emergency student financial needs each year, with each need ranging from approximately $500 to $1200, according to John Witte, dean of students. Ten cents might not seem like a lot, but if everyone in Calvin’s student body contributed one or two cans, it would pay for another need.

“All of the credit belongs to God,” said Boutelle. “My roommate and I are so blessed to be able to be a part of something we believe can and will benefit Calvin greatly. We are so excited to see God work through us and through the Calvin community. There is so much good to be done!