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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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Twenty-two schools received furniture from SDSU's Business Services department. Twenty-two schools received furniture from SDSU's Business Services department.

Benefiting Baja

The Business Services department on campus has donated materials to schools in Baja California for a decade.
By Hallie Jacobs

San Diego State University's Business Services department is tucked away on the southwest corner of campus under the west-bound trolley track. Though the majority of the SDSU community may not visit the building, the entire campus benefits from the work the department does to ensure SDSU runs smoothly.

The division is responsible for a myriad of duties ranging from mail services to material management to printing services. 

"We work extensively with every single department on campus on a regular basis," said David del Rio, assistant director for Business Services. "There are approximately 250 departments on campus and we assist all of them!"

But Business Services isn't just helping SDSU — for the past decade, the department has donated thousands of pieces of furniture to schools throughout the Baja California region.

"We follow every piece of furniture on this campus from cradle to grave," Del Rio said. "Meaning departments order it, have it delivered here, deliver it to the department and pick it up from the department when it's no longer needed. Then we decide if we should recycle, donate, sell, re-use or scrap it. We work hard to keep it out of the landfill."

It is up to Del Rio and his team to decide what condition an item of furniture is in. If it's still in acceptable condition, they store it for the next shipment down south.

Traveling through Baja

Del Rio and his team visited five towns in Baja California to distribute the furniture. Twenty-two schools, ranging from preschools to high schools, reaped the benefits of Business Services' efforts.

On the latest shipment, more than 500 desk chairs, 200 task chairs, 20 metal file cabinets and 10 desks were loaded into a truck and sent south.

"Everyone we work with down there is very grateful," del Rio said. "Some of the schools have extremely run-down furniture, so they appreciate receiving  better-quality materials at no charge."

Del Rio hopes to expand the scope of the donated materials to electronics and books.

Despite the less-than-desirable conditions of the schools, Del Rio is impressed with the students' commitment to learning.

"No matter what these kids are working with, they're still learning," he said. "They may not have fancy equipment or high-tech devices to work with, but they are dedicated to learning."

Making SDSU more sustainable

The Business Services team is determined to bring SDSU to the forefront of the sustainability movement. Del Rio estimates that the campus can do more when it comes to recycling, and he and his team are dedicated to making that happen.

"One of my favorite things about working at SDSU is that the students are so passionate and are constantly pushing for new ideas," Del Rio said. "Ten years ago sustainability was just a word, but the students here are making it an integral part of everything on campus."

Del Rio hopes that SDSU's recycling habits and techniques will become a model for other universities to adopt.

"We're always thinking of new ways to be resourceful and improve our methods," he said. "Recycling and donating seem to be the best ways to take care of surplus materials, so we want to continue improving how we handle them."