When Morgan Turner ’14 came to Bucknell, she knew she wanted to learn more about environmentalism and sustainability. She signed up to live and study in the Environmental Residential College, a community of like-minded first-year students, and enrolled in a memorable foundation seminar on the subject, taught by Professor Alf Siewers, English.
But studying the literature of environmentalism was not enough for young Turner. “We talked about nature and environmentalism in entertainment, how long we’ve been talking about trying to do right by our planet and how little we were actually doing,” Turner says. “That’s something that has always stuck with me. I figured, enough writing about it; let’s do something about it as well.”
Since graduating, Turner has carved out an active role in the sustainability movement as head project manager for the ANEW Foundation in her native Los Angeles.
“We try to keep office furniture out of landfills,” Turner says of ANEW, which stands for Asset Network for Education Worldwide. “We do that by convincing bigger corporations to donate office furniture rather than throwing it away. There are a lot of nonprofits, schools and churches that would gladly take this furniture, because their staff are sitting on folding chairs.”
Turner is involved in every stage of what ANEW calls the “surplus stewardship” process, from cultivating furniture donors to working with recipients. A recent highlight was working with the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, a Native American community in New Mexico that was affected by a flood. ANEW’s furniture donations have helped get the pueblo back on its feet.
“I was able to go to the pueblo and see the different organizations that the items had helped,” Turner says. “I don’t often get to see it firsthand. We could really feel the appreciativeness, and they did one of their ceremonial dances for us. Head Start, the schools, the churches on the reservation — the number of people these items are helping is really wonderful.”
To learn more about the ANEW Foundation, visit anewfound.org.