Cell phone donation drive ends with final push

by Spencer Fogel

Graduate student Brooke Stein waits inside the Foggy Bottom Metro station to collect used digital devices from commuters exiting the station. The University has been collecting used digital devices since October.
Media Credit: Becky Crowder | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Graduate student Brooke Stein waits inside the Foggy Bottom Metro station to collect used digital devices from commuters exiting the station. The University has been collecting used digital devices since October.

Dozens of students collected used cell phones outside 15 Metro stops Wednesday, marking the end of the University’s electronic devices drive.

The University began collecting digital devices in October, after it was first selected in September to host last month's Clinton Global Initiative University conference.

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, came to campus in October to launch the campaign, which challenged students to collect 20,000 devices in six months.

Media Credit: Becky Crowder | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Members of the community set up collection bins for the GW + Phones = Hope collection drive in the early hours of the morning Wednesday.

University spokeswoman Candace Smith said the organizers did not have an estimated number of items collected so far.

University President Steven Knapp, who made an appearance at the Foggy Bottom Metro station, said he was impressed by the high student turnout so early in the morning.

“It shows a real dedication to the kind of service mission that always has been a part of our University and that we’ve really been highlighting in recent years,” Knapp said. “The Clinton Global Initiative University gave us another opportunity to do that, but, of course, it’s what we do all the time. It’s sort of what school spirit involves at this University.”

Media Credit: Becky Crowder | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Donation boxes are positioned outside the Metro station with the hope of collecting 20,000 devices, as part of Clinton Global Initiative University.

The devices will benefit maternal health programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nepal through the University’s partnership with Hope Phones – a campaign started in 2009 to promote health care improvements through the implementation of recycled mobile devices in 11 countries.

Brooke Stein, a student organizer and president of the Public Health Student Association, spent the morning at the Foggy Bottom Metro distributing information about text4baby – a text mobile service that provides subscribers free information about maternal and child health care.

Stein, a graduate student studying maternal and child health, has promoted the text messaging service around D.C. In March, she helped organize the first School of Public Health and Health Services day of service, where students traveled across D.C. promoting text4baby.

Reflecting on the campaign, which has collected donations from laptops to bags of cell phones, Stein said it has been a success.

“A lot of people in D.C. don’t know that something as simple as their old cell phone can help someone in a different country or around the world,” Stein said. “I think that being here, in the morning hours, at all the different Metro stops is really going to increase awareness for Hope Phones and Text4baby.”

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