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Pi Reclamation Room Cleanup FAQ

By Will Byrd

Washington Apple Pi Journal, reprint information

I am happy to announce that, after a Herculean effort by a team of WAP volunteers, the "Reclamation Room" has been cleaned out and re-organized. I have prepared a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list about the cleaning effort.

Q1: What is the "Reclamation Room"?

A: The Reclamation Room is the large room located next to the classroom at the back of the WAP office. Until Friday, the room was completely filled with computer equipment, and most of the room was inaccessible. In addition to useful equipment, the room contained broken printers, monitors, and other junk.

Entrance before

Before stuff was carted away, the entrance to the Washington Apple Pi office was literally filled with old computers, pieces of computers, boxes of computer parts, obsolete software and manuals, and things difficult to identify. Note that the door to the Library, on the left, is completely blocked. (Photo by David Harris)

Q2: How much junk was cleaned out of the room?

A: Ed Escalante hauled at least five pickup-truck loads of old computer equipment to the Shady Grove transfer station. Steve Roberson took away several more loads in his mini-van. One more partial load of equipment is ready to be hauled away; I understand that either John Barnes or Ed Escalante will take this last load to Shady Grove by Monday morning.

Q3: Who should be thanked for cleaning the Reclamation Room?

A: Beth Medlin, Lorin Evans, Will Byrd, Steve Fink, Ed Escalante, Steve Roberson, Brian Mason, Dick Sanderson, and Dale Smith all contributed to the cleaning effort. Beth Medlin and Lorin Evans were our leaders and organizers, and made the entire effort possible. Ed Escalante and Steve Roberson generously offered the use of their vehicles, in addition to providing loading, unloading, and negotiating expertise. David Harris was able to sneak away from his database work long enough to take pictures of the cleanup effort. I apologize if I forgot to mention anyone.

Brute force

How was the office cleanup handled? Through sheer brute force. Some of the monitors and "all in one" Performas weigh sixty pounds or more. (Photo by David Harris)

Q2: How long did the cleaning take?

A: Beth, Lorin and I spent five or six hours clearing out the first part of the room on Friday afternoon and evening. A larger team, varying in size between two and nine people, spent about twelve hours cleaning the room on Saturday.

Q5: What wasn't cleaned? [See accompanying article, WAP Lunch Room Cleanup FAQ]

A: We restricted our efforts to the Reclamation Room. We did not clean the classroom, the front office, the library, or the "Lunch Room" used by the Board of Directors, the Tuesday Night Clinic (the room with the photocopier and the ugly pile of monitors and computers).

Classroom before

The Pi's tutorial room was used as a (temporary) staging area during the cleanup. (Photo by David Harris)

Q6: Why didn't you clean those areas as well?

A: We did not have time to clean anything other than the Reclamation Room. The Reclamation Room alone required over eighty hours hours of cleaning effort over two days.

Q7: When will other areas of the Pi office be cleaned?

A: As soon as we can get another crew together. The crew should include Beth and Lorin, if at all possible, given their intimate knowledge of the Pi. Beth's organizational skills are also invaluable.

Q8: What can I do to help with the cleaning effort at the Pi?

A: First of all, thank the people who cleaned the Reclamation Room. Call or e-mail the volunteers to express your appreciation. The Board of Directors should personally thank every member of the cleaning crew, especially Beth Medlin. Believe it or not, some of the volunteers are afraid other Pi members may criticize them, since we were unable to clean the entire office in two days. Please show the cleaning crew that their efforts are appreciated.

If you are on the Board of Directors, vote to reimburse Will Byrd for $72.64, the amount of money he spent buying lunch for the volunteers.

Secondly, expect and demand that all Pi members treat the Reclamation Room with respect. Last week I found a random Pi member sifting through equipment in the Reclamation Room, looking for something worth taking home. This person had absolutely no business being in the Reclamation Room. The Reclamation Room must stay locked unless either the Tuesday Night crew or the reclamation crew is using it. Legitimate users of the room (Tuesday Night crew and reclamation crew) must keep the room immaculate. Every piece of equipment in the Reclamation Room belongs in a labeled box. Anyone who trashes or otherwise abuses the room must be prohibited from using the room in the future.

Similar expectations must apply to other areas of the Pi office, once they are cleaned and organized. If we expect that the Pi office will quickly become a trash dump again, our expectations will be fulfilled. If we expect and demand that the Pi office be kept in pristine condition, our expectations will be fulfilled.

Thirdly, help us keep all areas of the office tidy, beginning today. If you see an overflowing trash can, please change the liner and take out the trash. Let Pat Fauquet or Dick Sanderson know when you notice burnt out light bulbs. Pull out the vacuum cleaner if you see scraps of paper on the floor. Wipe off the table in the back room after you eat a snack. If you already tidy up the office on a regular basis, ask other people to help you. In addition to improving the appearance of the office, you will help set an expectation that the office must remain clean.

Fourthly, send me an e-mail letting me know that you are willing to help clean the Pi office. I'll get in touch with you as soon as we begin planning our next major cleaning operation. My name is Will Byrd, and my e-mail address is emacs_groks@yahoo.com.

Trucking it away

A pickup truck is loaded with old computer equipment headed for the landfill. (Photo by David Harris)

Q9: Won't the Reclamation Room become trashed again within a few (days/weeks/months/years)?

A: Not if we expect and demand that the room be kept immaculate (see answer to previous question). We also need to make sure that the room remains locked unless the Tuesday Night crew or the reclamation crew is using it. Finally, all equipment stored in the Reclamation Room must be placed in the correct labeled box. In the case of larger equipment, such as monitors, printers, and CPU towers, the equipment must be stacked neatly against the wall or on a shelf next to other equipment of the same time. For example, a PowerMac 7100 CPU should be stacked on top of the other 7100's, not on top of the stack of 6100's.

Q10: What about the hideous pile of monitors and CPU's in the Lunch Room with the copier? Can't we temporarily move all of that equipment into the Reclamation Room?

A: No! The only way we will keep the Reclamation Room organized is by avoiding the temptation to throw assorted equipment into a corner whenever we need extra storage. Although the Reclamation Room has been organized, the room cannot support the addition of dozens of monitors and CPUs, some of which may not even work.

Q11: Then how do we eliminate the monitor/CPU pile?

A: The Pi needs to round up another cleaning/reclamation crew, headed by Lorin Evans, for the express purpose of eliminating the pile. Some equipment in the pile can be stripped for parts and junked. A modest number of "tested" machines and monitors could be neatly stacked in the Reclamation Room.

Q12: If we clean out the monitor/CPU pile, will another pile form within a few weeks?

A: Yes. The problem is that we are receiving donated equipment faster than we are sending reclaimed equipment out the door. Lorin Evans tells me that the problem is one of demand; he is not receiving requests for Macintosh computers of the vintage usually donated. Unless we can increase the demand for reclaimed Macs, we need to either stop accepting donations or cancel the reclamation program.

Reclamation room after

The reclamation room, post cleanup. Everything in its place, and a place for everything. (Photo by David Harris)

Q13: Who can answer other questions about the cleanup effort at the Pi office?

A: I can. My name is Will Byrd, and my e-mail address is emacs_groks@yahoo.com.