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By Eric Weld   Date: 4/21/10 Bookmark and Share

Donate Your Cell Phone, Earn Money for Smith

Don’t throw away that old cell phone. Instead, recycle it and help raise money for students from local public schools to visit Smith.

The Smith Science Center’s Educational Outreach Office, in a partnership with the telecommunications company Motorola, is collecting old cell phones for recycling. Motorola will pay the college for every cell phone donated to the cause.

Simply drop your old cell phones either in the electronics recycling kiosk at the Campus Center (first floor near the café entrance) or in the Science Outreach Office, Burton 102.

Motorola will pay Smith for each phone donated, between $.50 and about $15, explained Thomas Gralinski, outreach coordinator for the Smith Science Center, depending on the components of the phones that can be reused or recycled.

Though the program will accept all phones regardless of condition, Motorola will only pay for donated phones that are intact, with the display not cracked, the hinge working (for flip phones) and the internal board not exposed, Gralinski explained.

The Science Center will use proceeds from the program to help transport local public school students for educational visits to Smith, said Gralinski.

“The Science Center Educational Outreach Office has been working with a number of schools this past year,” he said. “This seems like a good way for us to earn some money that would be dedicated to helping the local schools enhance their science and engineering programs and bring attention to recycling.”

Gralinski worked with STRIDE students Renee Robilliard ’13 and Carlie Dennison-Leonard ’13 in participating in Motorola’s “Race to Recycle” program, which partners with schools nationwide to encourage mobile phone recycling.

The transportation funds raised through the recycling effort are essential for schools hoping to visit Smith, said Gralinksi. Last January, he said, after ten Smith students visited local classrooms through a Science Teaching Fellowship program, teachers in the schools wished to visit Smith with their classes but lacked the money for busing.

Also, Gralinski works with STEM RAYS (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Research Academies for Young Scientists), a local program that connects students and teachers with faculty at area colleges for science and math interactions and experiences. Part of the “Race to Recycle” funds would assist in transporting STEM RAYS students to Smith to participate in the Engineering Design Clinic, visit the fabrication lab in McConnell Hall and engage in engineering activities. Other groups take tours of the Science Center.

But first, the students have to get to Smith.

“I would be thrilled if we could earn $500,” said Gralinski, “and more than that would just allow us to help more schools.”

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