Community Voices - Dori Tiller and Shelley Clagg

Posted by Anita Peebles
Anita Peebles
Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
User is currently offline
on August 21, 2013 in Community Voices

shelleyclaggDori Tiller and Shelley Clagg are committed residents at John Frederick Oberlin (JFO) Homes who put together a recycling program at the John Frederick Oberlin (JFO) apartment complex. For both of them, recycling and reusing have come to feel very natural, and they are working hard to share this spirit with other members of the Oberlin community.

Q: What are some words or images that come to mind when describing Oberlin?

Dori: Oberlin is the obvious college town. Not that it???s bad, because I think the college is a good thing in the town.

Shelly: When I think of Oberlin I think of when I was a kid coming into Tappan Square and seeing the squirrels, and now that I live here seeing the squirrels all the time. So to me, Oberlin has always had a little touch of nature and always had that little touch of being connected to things differently. Oberlin is more progressive I think.

Q: How long have you been here?

Dori: All except two years now since 1969. So 40 some years.

Shelly: I???ve lived in Oberlin proper for three years, and just outside Oberlin two and a half years prior to that. And I lived in Wakeman growing up, so it was close.

Q: The Oberlin Project and many others talk about the word ???sustainability??? simultaneously in an environmental, economic, and social sense. How would you define sustainability for yourselves?

Shelly: I think sustainability has to combine all three, because all three interact with each other.

Dori: You don???t use up everything. Keep remaking and keep reusing over and over and over again, so the Earth doesn???t run out.

Q: Can you talk about some of the sustainable action you???re taking here at JFO and in your own lives?

Shelly: Well I know that we???ve done a few times, with our craft day, encouraging people to bring a plastic bottle or something and decorate it and use it to collect the box tops for the schools, so they have something real pretty. Or they could use it as a homemade piggy bank. A couple people I think popped the lids off and made pencil holders.

Dori: Personally, we reuse as much as we possibly can. I???ve got two totes of used jeans from my son-in-law who is 6???6?????? and I made my grandkids backpacks out of those jeans, and this is the third year they???re using them. We???re just all on the same program to use everything that you can; a lot of things can be used two or three or four times.

Shelly: She takes her granddaughter???s mismatched socks and makes cat toys. I did something one year...I make dream catchers as a hobby and I???ve kind of expanded on that and call them ???theme catchers.??? And so I took a hoop, and I found a bunch of string...and had hanging off of it various items that I found literally in the trash.

Q: So you???ve both been doing these kind of things before?

Dori: Oh yeah, even when I had my home outside of town I took things to BFI myself. Then when I moved into the apartment, I had in my closet a recycling bin. It was just natural for me. Today I look for metal in the dumpster, and the maintenance people here when they get a large amount of metal, they???ll let me know. I give it to my daughter and my son-in-law and they take it to the scrapyard. It gets the metal out of the landfill. We found a little kids wagon, filled it with dirt, put it out front, and put flowers in it.

Shelly: And we took a mattress frame and put it by our sign, hung milk jugs and coffee cans, and planted flowers in those.

Dori: The best one was the potty chair. I was at a garage sale down in Wellington and they had this potty chair, it was an old potty chair that had been painted I don???t know how many times. Paint coming off of it, really looked bad. And I asked the woman, ???how much you selling that for???? And she says ???No, no, nobody???s gonna want that.??? I said, ???I???ll give you two bucks for it.??? So I took it and I put it out by the front and I planted flowers in it. And everybody loved it! They just thought it was great.

Shelly: And we used the five gallon paint buckets, and filled them up...And the only complaint we heard was that we didn???t paint the buckets. But we didn???t want to! We wanted to show that they were used paint buckets.

Dori: And the little shelf on the side of the cabinet in there we found in the dumpster. We opened up a little shop in here, and we use the shelf now to help display our items for the open store. I took it upstairs, I cleaned it - it looks almost brand new!

Q: When did you start doing the recycling program at JFO?

Dori: It was last year that we went full swing. And it???s come second nature to us. I mean, we have about half of our residents recycling now. We???re getting more and more and more. And we???ve expanded ???cause now we???ve got a bin on top of the rack that we collect plastic bags in. We take them down to WalMart and recycle those. We started out with one bin for plastics. Now we have two bins and we???re thinking we might need a third one. We took 2100 pounds of paper last year to Prospect school. It is just a natural thing to do.

Tags: Untagged
Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton Rapids, Michigan. She is a Bonner Leader, a member of the Interfaith Student Council and a co-leader of Girls in Motion.

Photographer Info: Yvette Chen is a photographer for the Dashboard Project who is interested in the power of media and images. Originally from Princeton Junction, New Jersey, Yvette is a first year student at Oberlin College planning to study sociology and economics. Other than photography, in her spare time, she enjoys cooking and running through Ohio's rural landscapes.


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest January 2, 2017


Climate Positive Participant-Logo