If you go

What: 30 Days Until Graduation Party

When: 10 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Abo’s Pizza, 1035 Pearl St.

More information:

Every year, seniors at the University of Colorado give the campus a gift, which often consists of donating to an ongoing renovation. But this year, students are giving up some green to help the cost centers go green.

Senior Jeff Leadford and the 10-student senior gift committee are asking for donations to help turn the University Memorial Center, the Recreational Center and the Wardenburg Health Center into zero waste facilities.

Senior gift organizers are asking that students donate their $200 enrollment deposit, a one-time fee that is required before freshmen registration and returned eight weeks after graduation. Many seniors said they didn’t even remember paying it.

“I think that’s a good strategy if they inform students they are getting the 200 back,” CU senior Casey Helmig said, “and then (students) have the option of turning that over as part of the senior gift and not just asking for money, that’s a good idea.”

As senior week continues, students are handing out pledge cards at events throughout the week, including the “30 Days to Graduation Party” Wednesday night at Abo’s Pizza and the Legacy Ball Friday night at Folsom Field, which allow students to sign over the deposit.

CU senior Alex McNa said after four years of paying tuition and fees, no one remembers about that initial $200 deposit, so giving it up is easier than letting go of current funds.

Seniors are not limited to the $200 recommendation of the senior gift committee, and are encouraged to give any amount they want, Leadford said. The group will begin making cold calls to seniors on April 19, asking for a contribution to the gift and will continue the efforts through the summer.

With a senior class between 6,000 and 7,000 students — at $200 per person — the fund could potentially add up to more than $1 million. But organizers said past senior gift donations fell extremely short of that estimate and their expectations are not that high.

“The average senior gift collection is somewhere between $70,000 and $80,000, with the highest being about $100,000,” Leadford said. “We obviously aren’t reaching as high as $1 million because that’s just not realistic, but I think we can at least hit the average.”

Donations would be contributed to current efficiency efforts and would help create compost areas and improved recycling stations.

“I’m envisioning a (recycle) station that has all the different options in one place and have everything color-coded,” Leadford said. “So it will be easily recognized and eventually we could just have those stations and get rid of the waste baskets entirely.”

After polling approximately 1,000 seniors, the sustainability project was chosen over two building renovations and an underpass that will soon be under construction at Broadway and 16th Street.

Many seniors said they would be willing to support the project since it would help CU become more efficient and progress in campus efforts to remain one of the most environmentally conscious colleges in the nation.

CU students, like senior Mike Martis said sustainability is a staple of CU now, setting an example for other schools and holding true to the values of the Boulder community.

“As a whole it seems that CU is trying to cut down on waste and I feel that my class has really done a lot to promote that,” Martis said, “so I feel like that’s a pretty good idea for where (the senior gift) should go.

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