December 15, 2005

Used cell phone donations help Special Olympics

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- If you receive a new cell phone as a gift this holiday season, Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Department of Public Safety and Saluki athletics have a great idea for disposing of your old model.

The University's police department and its parking division are participating in a program that refurbishes the used phones and resells them. All proceeds go to Special Olympics, which receives a minimum of $1 per phone, although some models bring in more than $100. On average, Special Olympics receives $9 per recycled cell phone.

SIUC police and the athletics department are teaming up with a special offer. Fans attending the Dec. 31 men's basketball game against Drake can donate their used cell phone, and will receive a coupon they can redeem for a free ticket to a future Saluki men's basketball game – excluding the Jan. 2 game against Wichita State. The free ticket will be for a seat in the upper bowl bleachers.

"We think this is a very valuable program from the standpoint of helping to continue what is a very much appreciated activity by the participants each year," Public Safety Director Todd D. Sigler said. "They look forward to the competition and day of activity."

The annual Southern/Area 15 Special Olympics is set for April 27 at McAndrew Stadium. Southern Special Olympics serves athletes in Alexander, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pulaski, Randolph, Union and Williamson counties.

Saluki athletics is "very pleased to help other campus groups with special projects, and we think Special Olympics is a fantastic organization to try and help," said Mike Trude, public information coordinator for the athletics department.

SIUC police and the parking division have been collecting cell phones since May, and have received about 30 phones, Sigler said. The program runs through the end of January.

Drop-off points for cell phones are the police department, located in Washington Square Building A, or the parking division, in Washington Square Building B. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 193 is also helping with the charity drive. For more information, call the police department at 618/453-3771, or the parking division at 618/453-5369.

Community outreach and serving others are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.