By Ayumi Davis
Wanting to give back in a big way, Diana Payne, a junior and resident assistant at Roosevelt, aims to collect one million pop tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
She is inspired by the actions of actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his work with social activism while balancing acting along with it. “It all kind of stemmed from Leonardo DiCaprio, not only because he’s amazing in his films and stuff like that, but his activism work with the environment…seeing him also be an actor and all this activism work made it feel more accomplishable, that I could do it, too,” Payne said.
Payne was inspired to donate to the program after a project in her media production class. She was asked to have an outside focus for the class, and thought about her desire to take part in giving back and social activism. At first, she looked at Box Tops, an item many school kids collected while in elementary and middle school. But, after researching further, found that it was targeted more towards younger kids.
It is then that she came upon the Thanks-A-Million program. The program consists of collecting aluminum pop tabs of any kind- from soup cans, soda cans and such. Once collected, the pop tabs are taken to one of Ronald McDonald House drop-off site where it is then bought by United Scrap Metal. The money made is used to help families in need.
The goal of the program is for people to collect 1 million pop tabs, equaling to approximately 790 pounds of pop tabs. For the program, this is just a starting point for people who continue on to collect many more. Dakota Goff, a 10-year-old boy from Morris, IL , is one such person. Goff has collected 5 million pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Payne strives to be like Dakota and hopes to use the 1 million pop tabs as a starting point.
Payne is currently in the beginning stages of collecting the pop tabs, but she plans to use her budget from her job as an RA to buy containers to place around RU campus, so everyone can contribute to the program.
She also hoped to reach out to the organizations on campus to work together to collect the pop tabs. One of her ideas is to place collection tubs near trash cans, so people can easily pop off the tabs of their cans and put it in the tub before recycling the cans.
In doing this program, she wished to reach more students than the ones that live in the dorms since she felt most programs are geared towards Wabash residents. “But I feel like that’s not enough for me. I want us saying Roosevelt University as a whole, as a community, we brought together, we did this, we teamed up,” Payne said. Because I want that impact to spread from the school, so we all feel responsible for benefiting people.”
Payne hoped to continue this, even past a million pop tabs, hoping it will become a tradition for Roosevelt students.“If it takes off how I hope it would, we don’t have to stop at one million. I want this to last as long as I’m here at Roosevelt, and, hopefully, to continue when I graduate. I want this to be an ongoing thing,” Payne said.