Aluminum, college fraternities, and Lou Gehrig – those three things don’t normally go hand in hand, but Kansas State University student Harrison Helmick is looking to tie them together for a good cause.
A sophomore in bakery science, Helmick has started a movement called Aluminum For ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, colloquially known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) as part of his Phi Delta Kappa philanthropy project, and its foundation is built from aluminum cans.
How does the project work? It’s quite simple: Helmick has placed big blue barrels with the Aluminum For ALS logo outside of Kansas State University frat houses. Instead of aluminum cans getting thrown out, Helmick is urging students to put them in the blue barrels.
The aluminum is then collected and turned in for recycling money, and all proceeds are donated to the ALS Association. From the Kansas State Collegian:
“My fraternity was looking for a new philanthropy project, so when I was elected as the philanthropy chair, I wanted to plan something,” Helmick said. “I had always noticed how wasteful it was to throw away bags full of aluminum cans after parties, both in their collectability and in their environmental impact. My goal is to get as many of these barrels around campus as possible.”
Aluminum for ALS barrels are currently in place in 12 fraternity houses. Helmick’s goal is to place barrels in every fraternity house by the end of the semester and eventually in sorority houses, residence halls and potentially even at football tailgates.
“It’s a very simple thing; finish your drink, donate to charity,” Helmick said. “We take care of the cleanup and can provide as many barrels as necessary. Every person can easily get involved.”
As of November 1, more than 400 pounds of aluminum have been collected for the cause. Of course, you don’t have to be at Kansas State University to help – you should always recycle your aluminum (get cash and help the environment) and are welcome to make a donation at the ALS Foundation. Remember, every little bit helps.