At the end of the school year, students and parents often wonder how an individual can accumulate so much “stuff” over the course of the school year. Students often find unwanted clothing and shoes that haven’t been worn all year when they pack up to move home, in addition to electronics, home items, and food that was just never eaten. When faced with the choice of lugging these unwanted items home or getting rid of them, students and parents want to dispose of the items right on campus. In the past, this has resulted in an enormous amount of reusable items entering the landfill. However, thanks to the generous spirit of the Rochester campus, unwanted items from the dorms this year were donated or recycled instead of trashed.
For the sixth year in a row, University Facilities and Services sponsored Move-Out Clean-Out, an event held at the end of the spring semester to collect unwanted clothing and shoes in addition to non-perishable food items. With the help of the non-profit organizations Planet Aid, Open Door Mission and, Grassroots, a student run organization, the University of Rochester campus diverted thousands of pounds of waste from the landfill.
Outside of each residence building, big yellow bins were placed from Planet Aid to collect clothing and shoes. This year, 10,983 pounds of clothing and shoes were collected. That’s the weight of about 5 adult elephants!
Additionally, 2,817 pounds of food was collected and donated to Open Door Mission. This total exceeded last year by 1,161 pounds! Open Door Mission aims to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in the Rochester area.
Student group Grassroots also held their own collection for larger items, such as furniture, room supplies, school equipment, refrigerators and microwaves. This event is called Dump and Run where students place items outside their residence halls for Grassroots to collect. Grassroots then sold these items to returning students looking to furnish their rooms. Grassroots uses the profits to go towards future Grassroots events. This is a great way to recycle unwanted items – as the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This year, Grassroots collected 77 different items.
Lastly, old electronics were also collected, weighing in at 1,328 pounds. These materials were taken to the IT Equipment Recovery warehouse and checked to see if any items contained hard drives, which were then shredded on site. All remaining electronic materials were then recycled by Sunnking, a partner in recycling the University’s unwanted electronics.
A huge thank you goes to all our volunteers, Planet Aid, Open Door Mission, IT Equipment Recovery, Sunnking, Grassroots, and Facilities and Services for making this event as successful ever. Also, thank you to all the students that were generous enough to donate, exemplifying the spirit of “Meliora.”
Written by Lauren Henry, Class of 2014