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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Make ’09 fine when you lend your time

    It happens every January. The gym is a lot more crowded than usual; weight loss infomercials plague late-night TV; the drugstore sells out of Nicorette Gum. Yet despite our best efforts, most of us will be back at our bad habits two weeks into the new year. It may be pessimistic, but the truth is that New Years resolutions rarely stick. So instead of making a self-centered resolution – like losing weight or making more money – why not resolve to make a difference in the lives of others? The top nine ways to help others in ’09…

    Resolve to help the environment

    ? Ride your bike instead of driving

    Looking for a way to save money, get in shape and help out the environment? Knock out all three of these resolutions by swapping your car for a bike.

    Driving less equates to a reduction in fuel emissions, fewer tires and parts in landfills, and the improvement of air quality. And even with gas prices at a record low, the cost of fuel, repairs, parking and maintenance certainly takes a toll on your wallet. Riding a bike instead of driving not only saves cash, but also provides an excellent (and free!) form of exercise – perfect for starting that new weight loss plan for the new year.

    ? Shop Local

    Instead of buying produce and meat from big-box superstores, make an effort to shop local. Locally grown goods don’t require cross-country transportation and are typically grown without pesticides or other environmentally unfriendly chemicals. Support local growers by shopping at farmers markets, or by joining a Co-op, such as the Food Conspiracy Co-Op on Fourth Avenue.

    ? Unplug Electronics

    Resolving to spend less money this year? Start with reducing electric bill costs by unplugging dormant “”vampire”” electronics. Even when DVD players, TVs, computers and coffee makers appear to be turned off, they still use a significant amount of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, stand-by power accounts for up to one-fifth of all power used in a typical household.

    Resolve to unplug phone chargers, coffee pots and printers every night and when you leave the house. This simple resolution will reduce energy use and help you pocket some extra cash from the reduced costs in your monthly utility bill.

    Resolve to help others

    ? Free Rice

    Putting an end to world hunger is a bit of a lofty goal for the new year. But what if you could help feed the world without even straying from your laptop?

    This is the concept behind Freerice.com, a Web site that sends rice to hungry families across the globe. With each correct vocabulary definition (Dejected means: A) Loathsome, B) Dreadful, C) Glum, D) Sufficient), Freerice.com donates 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program. More than two million people in 75 different countries received rice from the program since its start last October.

    ? Donate to Heifer International

    Flocks of geese, llamas or water buffalo aren’t the first items that come to mind as donations for the needy. These unlikely gifts, however, can make a huge difference to hungry families overseas. Heifer International uses monetary donations to send gifts of livestock to underprivileged families for food or as a source of income. For example, donating a flock of geese ($20) provides a family with eggs that can be sold or eaten. A larger donation, such as a cow ($250), provides a family with milk, meat and calves to sell for income.

    ? Volunteer at the Humane Society

    Don’t forget about your furry friends when making resolutions for the New Year.

    The Humane Society of Southern Arizona offers several ways for students to help man’s best friend. After a one-time orientation class, volunteers can work in shelters, vaccination clinics, animal training and several other volunteer positions.

    Resolve to help Arizona

    ? AZStRUT

    January is the perfect time to get organized before the year gets too hectic. Step one? Get rid of unused electronics and computers cluttering up the closet.

    Broken or outdated PCs and laptops can be sent to Students Recycling Used Technology, or AZStRUT. The company recycles used computers by sending them to schools across the state for technical training.

    “”We accept computers, faxes, copiers, printers and even iPods. The one thing we don’t accept is televisions,”” said Tom Mehlert, AzStruT’s executive director.

    Donations allow students to gain hands-on technical experience by learning to rebuild and refurbish the computers. Once a system is rebuilt, the completed computers are sent to nonprofit organizations and schools across the state.

    “”Our company’s donations directly benefit the state of Arizona,”” Mehlert said, adding that most other recycling programs aren’t local.

    ? Become a volunteer at Camp Wildcat

    Make a difference right here at The University of Arizona through Camp Wildcat, a student-run group that organizes activities such as hiking and camping trips for disadvantaged Tucson children.

    “”We promote college as an attainable goal,”” said Director Casey Edwards, an international studies senior, who notes that Camp Wildcat is a great volunteer opportunity for students with hectic schedules since there are no membership requirements.

    Camp Wildcat members often lend their time at the UMC Children’s ward, homeless shelters and on monthly camping excursions. Volunteers share their college experiences with campers, often encouraging them to consider furthering their education.

    “”It’s really rewarding to hear campers say that they want to be a Wildcat, too,”” Edwards said.

    ? Volunteer at the Tucson food bank

    “”Demand is up,”” said Kristen Hershberger of the need for student volunteers at the Community Food Bank, where she is the volunteer resources coordinator.

    The Community Food Bank encourages students to volunteer, either individually or with a group of friends.

    “”Students will typically help box food or sort through donations,”” Hershberger said, adding that volunteers can expect a shift to last around three hours.

    The Community Food Bank has five branches, though the location on Country Club Road is ideal for UA volunteers.

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