By Lauren Ogata- University Apartments
Hey again! Since the last time we checked in, a lot of wheels have started turning for our University Apartment Team. Last week, we mobilized and visited the UCLA graduate apartment complex that our group will be working with called University Village. Located near Sepulveda Blvd. and National Blvd., University Village is comprised of over 1,000 apartment units in two different (and separated) wings of the complex. Upon arrival, we met with Jeff Hinkle and Anna Purtell, two managing staff of the university apartments, and they showed us around the premises. We first saw the gated enclosure that holds the Village’s large waste bin and their new recycling compactor. Jeff informed us that the new compactor has been a great addition to the Village because it is able to compact down recycled materials (paper, cardboard boxes, plastics, etc.) so that their waste-service company, Athens, only comes to pick up the recyclables when the bin has reached a maximum capacity. This is an improvement from the old system in which Athens would come on a regular schedule to pick up whatever recyclables were in the bin, regardless if it was empty, half full, or full. The new compactor has an electronic tracker to know when it has reached maximum capacity and sends a notice to Athens to come and pick up the bin. We also walked around the outsides of the apartment unit buildings and saw the laundry rooms, which have a battery and CD recycling container for the tenants. There were also recycling bins near each gate entrance into University Village where the apartment mailboxes are also located. We ended by looking at the enclosures that hold the 3x3-yard trash and recycling containers. There are a total of 16 trash enclosures between both sides of University Village. There were a few word signs posted on the walls that state what is considered recyclables, but they were not very apparent or eye-catching.
This past week, our ART team met twice to jump on the upcoming steps in our project. On Sunday we had a team-bonding dinner in Westwood where we had some great food, laughs, and idea planning. On Monday, we met for our formal meeting and further discussed our past progress and future goals. We began discussing the logistical plans for the materials and supplies we will need for our action research. The preliminary plans include:
- Designing refrigerator magnets with recycling fun-facts and graphics to inform residents on what they can and cannot recycle.
- Purchasing small recycling receptacles for individual units that have handles to make transporting recyclables easy on the tenants.
- Compiling a short survey to be emailed out to the residents to get baseline data and information on their recycling habits.
- Creating permanent picture signs to be posted in the trash enclosures to remind tenants on the appropriate recycling materials.
In the next week, we hope to finalize our materials list for the project as well as draft our survey to send out to the University Village residents via e-mail. With so much preliminary research and planning completed, we are super excited to begin putting our ideas into action!