Topeka, Kan. – A program, idled by the Covid-19 pandemic, is rolling again and presenting keys to a 
better life. Washburn Tech’s Recycled Rides will gift two refurbished vehicles to families or 
organizations in need at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, May 7. Masks and social distancing will be required 
at the ceremony in the United Way of Greater Topeka parking lot at 1527 SW Fairlawn.

     “Everyone, from our students and instructors to our donors and vendors, are excited to provide this 
valuable community service again,” said Gerald Bayens, dean, Washburn Tech. “This program is just 
one example of the outstanding career training offered by our instructors and industry advisors.”

     The vehicles being gifted this spring are a Nissan Maxima and a Chevy Equinox. Recipients are 
chosen by a selection committee comprised of Washburn Tech students and facilitated by local 
leaders of the United Way.

     "We are grateful to be back in action helping the students of Washburn Tech choose the recipients 
for Recycled Rides," said Donna Swaffar, UWGT communications director. "Watching the students start 
to understand how much the gift of reliable transportation will mean to the people they select is 
probably one of the most rewarding moments we get to be part of. And we are excited to host the 
rideaway for the first time this year."

     As part of the event, State Farm® will make a check presentation to Recycled Rides. It will mark 
the eighth grant awarded by State Farm which has given more than $100,000 to the Washburn Tech 

     “A program like Recycled Rides is a great fit with State Farm’s focus on reinvesting in our 
communities,” said Dave Oloffson, a corporate responsibility analyst for State Farm. “We make it 
our business to be a good neighbor, develop strong neighborhoods and
assist those residents in need.”

     Recycled Rides partners auto service and auto collision students with instructors and professional 
mentors in the community to refurbish vehicles, which are awarded to individuals or families in 
need. Local businesses and individuals also donate parts and supplies to get the vehicles on the 
road again. Lewis Automotive Group, of Topeka, is t-shirt sponsor this spring.

     Washburn Tech was the first college in the nation to participate in the National Auto Body 
Council’s Recycled Rides program. The May presentation will bring the total number of automobiles 
donated by Washburn Tech’s Recycled Rides program to 30.


For further information: Contact: Lori Hutchinson 785.670.2199
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Washburn University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, or marital or parental status. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Pamela Foster, Equal Opportunity Director/Title IX Coordinator, Washburn University, 1700 SW College Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66621, 785.670.1509,

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