Student volunteer groups can fundraise while sorting trash

Emily Hernandez

Student organizations can fundraise by partnering with the Sustainability Sort Squad to sort trash on Sundays after football games.

The Sustainability Sort Squad, a component of the athletic sustainability program Bleed Orange Live Green, consists of volunteers who work in two three-hour shifts on Sundays to sort through the trash from the previous game day. Student organizations are able to earn between $150–$750 based on the number of people they bring to sort trash, funded by a Green Fund grant. 

The Sunday sorting day was piloted last year and was more successful than sorting trash on game days, said Lauren Lichterman, operations and sustainability coordinator for Texas Athletics. 

“The ability to create this as a fundraising opportunity is really the only way we’ve been able to achieve what we have been able to achieve in zero-waste at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium,” Lichterman said. “(The Green Fund Committee) awarded us a Green Fund with the caveat that any of these funds that you’re going to ‘pay’ groups for helping sort have to be UT student groups, so the tuition money students are paying go back to help campus in different ways.”

The grant was given by UT’s Green Fund, which allocates $5 per semester from every student’s tuition into a fund used to support sustainability-related proposals on campus. In the summer sessions, $2.50 is taken from each student’s tuition.

This Sunday, there will be 300 people sorting, which is the capacity amount, Lichterman said. 

Beauties and the Beat, an all-female a cappella group, has participated in the Sunday cleanup twice this semester. Olivia Helm, the group’s event coordinator, said they will be sorting this Sunday.

“Each time is a little different depending on what bag of trash you get,” said Helm, a communication sciences and disorders sophomore. “We spread out and separate the trash into compost, recycling and landfill. It smells bad.”

Desi Friesenhahn, the vice president internal of Tau Beta Pi, said her organization has sorted trash once this semester and are planning to participate in this Sunday’s cleanup. 

“It’s kind of disheartening,” mechanical engineering senior Friesenhahn said. “I think we found an entire cow in one bag of brisket people had thrown away. There were entire water bottles people had tossed in the trash, unopened. It’s sad, but it’s good a lot of it is getting diverted to compost and recycling instead of landfill.”