Students collect box tops for local schools
Two Washington University students have taken the initiative to give back to the St. Louis community by involving the University in the Box Tops for Education project.
Senior Cyrus Bahrassa and sophomore Valerie Bostrom connected Wash. U. with the Box Tops for Education project after participating in Student Union’s Engage 360 service trip last year.
“After [Engage 360], I was really motivated and inspired to give back to St. Louis. I thought about how I had all these products with box tops on them and how they are not being collected and donated to schools,” Bahrassa said.
Box Tops for Education is a program, run by General Mills, that donates money to schools when consumers turn in their box tops.
Each box top collected on campus will add 10 cents to a donation fund to benefit Ford Elementary School in Northwest St. Louis.
College students can easily obtain Box Tops from boxed food readily available in both on-campus markets and local off-campus grocers.
“I see the box top envelopes every time that I take out the trash,” sophomore Alison Tune said. “It is a great way to make use of resources which would otherwise go to waste.”
Box Top collection envelopes are located in the trash rooms of every residence hall on the South 40, Village House and Lopata House. The envelopes can also be found in fraternity houses, the Student Union office and Quadrangle Housing Office on North Campus.
“The Box Top Project really helped at my elementary school. From the money we raised, we were able to get volleyballs, basketballs and other sports equipment,” sophomore Tom Wilkinson said.
Last year, 796 box tops were collected from University residences and $79.60 was donated to Ford Elementary.
“We constantly need to get the word out about this, but we feel that there is a good awareness and that we have a strong turnout so far. It is a lot about repetition; people forget, and we need to make sure that donating becomes a habit,” Bahrassa said.
Bon Appétit is helping to get the word out about the program. Bahrassa and Bostrom are working with the director of marketing in hopes of creating signs to remind student consumers of box top donation eligibility in Paws & Go and the Village Market.
“What excited me about the program is that the students at Wash. U. are really smart but also tremendously humble. School is hard, but they somehow find time to get involved with good causes, and it is exciting for me to hear these things,” Resident District Manager for Bon Appétit Nadeem Siddiqui said.
Ideally, Bahrassa and Bostrom hope to have collection sites in every off-campus apartment building.
Ford Elementary School is also encouraging parents to donate box tops.
“I think that we will capture as many box tops as we can and really help Ford Elementary in a pretty unique way,” Bahrassa said.
The Box Tops for Education program, which began in 1996, has collected over $400 million for schools across America.