RIT Assists American Troops and Enhances National Recycling Efforts

University participates in national Cell Phones for Soldiers program

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, housed at Rochester Institute of Technology, is participating in a national effort to assist soldiers serving overseas in connecting with their families while also promoting electronics recycling.

The institute will sponsor a month-long campus campaign encouraging faculty, staff and students to donate their old cell phones and communications devices in partnership with Cell Phones for Soldiers and the electronics recycler ReCellular. The equipment then will be recycled and resold with proceeds being used to purchase calling cards that are given to American soldiers serving around the world.

The collection will last through Jan. 14 with three locations on campus where individuals can drop off devices:

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, Louse M. Slaughter Hall, room 2000

Air Force ROTC, Lewis Ross Hall, room A250

Army ROTC, Lewis Ross Hall, room A210

“As a wife and mother of two sons currently serving in the U.S. military, I understand how difficult it can be to stay in touch with loved ones, particularly during the holiday season,” notes Tracy Freas, senior staff engineer at the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute and an organizer of the campus effort. “It is our hope that this initiative will ultimately help military families stay connected while having the added benefit of diverting a significant amount of waste from landfills.”

In addition to leading the collection effort, the Pollution Prevention Institute will track metrics on waste collected and cell phones recycled to assist Cell Phones for Soldiers in tracking the impact of its initiatives.

Cell Phones for Soldiers has raised more than $7 million and provided more than 90 million minutes of free talk and approximately 10,000 calling cards are mailed each week. Thus far in 2010, the organization has recycled more than 1,343,000 mobile devices.

The program is also sponsored by RIT’s Air Force and Army ROTC. For more information about the initiative, contact Freas at 475-5807 or taf3456@rit.edu.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by Massachusetts teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist with $21 of their own money. For more information about the organization, go to www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.