Time-worn TVs take over JKM loading doc

Jennie Piotrzkowski

Over the past few months, maybe you’ve noticed several televisions behind Jennie King Mellon Library. They can be seen among the garbage containers just as you drive past the Murray Hill entrance to the Shadyside campus.

The Communiqué found that many people around campus were wondering the same thing: Why are those televisions there?

Students, like Danielle Bos ‘21, recalls seeing a similar scene behind the library a couple of years ago.

“When my parents and I were leaving Chatham after my first visit, we went through the library lot and noticed a few televisions just sitting there,” Bos said. “We originally thought someone was planning on using them for some type of abstract art project, but here they are two years later, and [there are still TVs being discarded] in the exact same spot with no clear reason or purpose.”

Some of these televisions are a result of renovations the library has been going through this past year, said Robert DuBray, Director of Facilities and Public Safety. These changes are part of Chatham’s efforts to move toward using more innovative, up-to-date technologies.

The electronics behind the JKM library.

However, that doesn’t account for all of the TVs. Some seem to be appearing out of nowhere.

“Yes, unauthorized drop offs by employees and neighbors is an ongoing concern, but we have installed cameras to see who is doing this,” he said.

When TVs are discarded there, they can’t just be thrown out with the rest of the campus refuse. The University works with the company Republic, which specializes in proper disposal of bulk items and electronic recycling.

“Some of these older televisions have mercury content in them. That’s why it’s important to make sure it is properly disposed of,” DuBray said. Cathode ray tubes (often called CRTs) found in many of the TVs can contain up to 6 pounds of lead within them. Any exposure to these materials could result in serious health effects.

Chatham takes pride in creating an environment where sustainability can be studied and supported. The proper disposal of hazardous material, such as these televisions, is another example of how Chatham strives to promote sustainability.