Emily Jarvis
December 10, 2004
Final Internship Report

 

2GOOD2TOSS

Goals and Objectives

My objectives for the semester centered on one basic goal: to increase the utilization of the 2good2toss website by promoting it to the Walla Walla community. I have worked to achieve this goal through several means. These include creating a public service announcement promoting the website to be aired on the Whitman College radio station, sending out emails to the community listserve, and distributing and posting flyers in businesses around town. I also worked to advertise the program in the Walla Walla utility bills through an article which should be published in them in December or January. Finally I called or emailed several local contractors to inform them of the 2 Good 2 Toss program and encourage them to use the site.

 

Experiences and Learning

In this internship I have learned and experienced several new things. I enjoyed recording a public service announcement and catching a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes aspect of the Whitman College radio station. I also found it interesting going around to businesses in town and getting the perspectives on the program of the people who worked there. Most seemed willing to listen to what I had to say about the program and to post the fliers in their stores, but weren't necessarily too optimistic about the interest of their customers. This was particularly true of the thrift stores I went to. The employees at these stores gave me the impression that neither they nor their customers would have much need for it. The Resource Conservation Committee Meeting I went to was educational since I was able to see what kinds of other programs the committee was running and promoting in the community. The internship itself can be a bit discouraging at times simply because the task of promoting it is so big and a lot of people just aren't interested in it. But I have enjoyed the internship because it makes me feel that I am part of the Walla Walla community and working to provide something beneficial for everyone.

 

Logistics

Although it is possible to do this internship without a car, I definitely have found that having a car would be a plus. Since this semester we decided to take this internship in the direction of community promotion rather than just campus promotion I have had to do a lot of things off-campus. While for the most part it is possible to do this with a bike, everything just takes longer to do. And there are definitely limits to what you can do for the internship without a car, just because it is not very feasible to go certain places. I didn't get a chance to do a few things that I had wanted to do for the internship, such as promoting the program at Walla Walla Community College and at both Walla Walla College and Andy's Market in the neighboring town of College Place, because I didn't have a car. Thus I think in the future it would be better for the program and make it easier for the intern if he or she had access to a car.

 

Value to Community

2good2toss is a program that would benefit any community, but has definite potential in Walla Walla . It facilitates the exchange of resources between individuals and businesses and encourages reuse and conservation of items. In this way it provides a double benefit, both economically by aiding community members in exchanging resources and environmentally by reducing waste. One drawback to implementing this program in Walla Walla is the fact that it is a smaller community, so the website will never be used to the extent that it is used in some of the other communities which have implemented it.

 

Reflections

While I think the 2good2toss program provides a valuable service for our community, I realize that there are obstacles which must be dealt with in successfully implementing it. One of my housemates was recently trying to decide what to do with her microwave after it broke. She informed me that she would probably just take it to the dump and buy a new one since that would be less hassle and almost less expensive than trying to have it repaired. This viewpoint is not surprising considering our society's culture of consumerism. Advertising and the nature of production ensures that we emphasize consuming over conserving. The fact that it is almost cheaper to buy a new appliance than to repair the old one leads consumers to fall into wasteful practices. Thus many people may not be interested in exchanging used items on the website since it may seem like too much of a hassle or they would rather just buy new and unused items instead.

 

Recommendations for the Future

It is important to take these concerns into consideration when promoting the 2good2toss program, remembering that the nature of production and consumption processes in our society inevitably encourages certain insensitive and wasteful attitudes and practices in people. Thus promotion of the program must be that much stronger. One way in which I think these obstacles can be overcome is by identifying the appropriate target for promotion of the program. For example, contractors, construction workers, and do-it-yourself home improvers provide good markets for the program. Contractors and construction workers often have materials left over after a project that aren't necessarily usable in their next project but could still be valuable for someone else. They are likely to be interested in the program since through it they can use materials that they normally probably would have just thrown away to get new materials. Likewise, do-it-yourself home improvers tend to be on a budget and would likely be interested in finding reasonably acquirable materials for their projects. Thus they would probably be interested in the scraps of the contractors. So 2good2toss can act as a much needed coordinator between these two groups of people. Other groups who would benefit from this coordination should be identified and targeted as well in the future.

 

 

Key Contacts

Sharon Baker Johnson
Coordinator
Regional Waste Reduction & Recycling
310 W. Poplar, Suite 007
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 527-3282
(509) 526-3266 (FAX)

SJohnson@co.walla-walla.wa.us


Kate Johnson
Regional Waste Reduction & Recycling
310 W. Poplar, Suite 007
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 527-3282
(509) 526-3266 (FAX)

KJohnson@co.walla-walla.wa.us