GREEN COMPUTING: CommuniTech's E-Waste Initiative
2010 - 2011 saw CommuniTech forming a new and exciting partnership with the on-campus Penn Sustainability organization. A member of CTech's executive board now serves as a liaison on the Green Campus Partnership Student Association (GCPSA), offering suggestions on potential events and awareness campaigns.
One such event spearheaded by CTech was the E-waste initiative during Penn's RecycleMania which saw hundreds of students dispose of unused electronic waste which included hard disks, memory sticks, CD's, tape recorders and other hardware junk. Electrical waste contains hazardous but also extremely valuable and scarce materials. Some computer components can be reused in assembling new computer products, while others are reduced to metals that can be reused in applications as varied as construction, flatware, and jewelry.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills and incinerators where the hazardous chemicals such as lead, sulfur and polyvinyl chloride present in them, harm both the earth and the organisms that inhabit it.
The members of CTech essentially believe in the principle of "green computing" which aims to reduce the use of hazardous materials, maximize energy efficiency during the product's lifetime, and promote the recyclability or biodegradability of defunct products and factory waste. The E-Waste Initiative is our way of making a difference by raising awareness on a small scale. We have also formed an important partnership with Elemental, Inc. in Philadelphia which helps us in recycling the materials we collected through this drive.
If you have any form of electronic waste that you would like to dispose of, please fill out a form with your details on the Contact Us page of this website.
Middle School Mentoring Program
CommuniTech's Middle School Mentoring program began in Spring 2008 with the aim of teaching kids basic computer skills, computer hardware functions, and a bit of programming. Every semester, kids attend this program to learn how to use word processors, spreadsheet applications, and presentation programs, besides learning how to conduct Internet searches. These kids are also educated on Internet safety and the negative (and scary) effects of electronic wastes. Much thanks to the creators of Alice (www.alice.org), we also have a powerful tool with which to teach children basic programming. The program is made possible with collaborations with the University of Pennsylvania's Civic House and School of Engineering, along with several schools and community centers in the Philadelphia area, including Drew, Wilson, Lee and Penn Alexander Schools and The Quba Institute. Each mentoring session is filled with fun activities such as creating pie charts (yummy), making music videos, giving presentations and much loved ice-breakers.
During the spring of 2011, CommuniTech has partnered with Turning the TIDE (Technology and Information Delivered for Empowerment) (www.turningthetide.org) to provide technology training to low-income residents of the Philadelphia community through its Computer Training Program. CommuniTech students have been providing free lessons to West Philadelphia residents on computer basics, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as how to use email, search engines, etc. This takes place at an off-campus site during Saturdays, where students rotate each week to teach a particular lesson to the community.