It is no secret that the end of the academic year is one of the busiest times for college students. Whether finishing up their first year or completing their college experience, students move onto the next chapter of their lives by moving out of their dorms and to whatever opportunities await them. During this process, many students find themselves stuck with a lot of clothing, food, electronics, room decorations, and other materials that they simply don’t know what to do with.
Fortunately, University Facilities and Services has continued the annual Move-Out Cleanout program for the eleventh year in a row. From April 30th to May 20th students could donate unwanted items that are sent to various organizations. This helps redirect waste that would typically wind up in landfills.
The University set an all-time record of more than 28,000 pounds (14 tons!) of clothing and shoes collected; this is about 8,000 pounds more than the previous year. Multiple Planet Aid bins placed outside residential buildings had to be emptied regularly to keep up with the large amounts of donations.
This year’s Move-Out Cleanout initiative not only donated food to the Open Door Mission, but to the University’s Food Pantry too. With 2,454 pounds of non-perishable food collected as the second most popular part of the program this year, 436 pounds was donated to support the University’s Food Pantry initiative to help its students who are facing food security issues. The program, previously known as the Summer and Winter Food Share, had its own collection location designated outside of the Hillside Market in Susan B. Anthony Hall (pictured above). Sustainability Coordinator Amy Kadrie who leads the Cleanout effort is “always happy to have the opportunity to collect goods to support the local community. Not everyone is aware that some students struggle with food insecurity as well and this year it was especially nice to be able to support the needs of our own.”
For the first time in Move-out Cleanout history, hygiene products were collected. More than 100 pounds of unopened items were gathered and donated to the Open Door Mission, a local organization just miles away from the University. The portion of these items collected at Susan B. Anthony Hall were donated to the University’s Food Pantry as well.
Another new addition to the Cleanout program was bicycle donations. Many students find it hard to transport their bicycles back home or store them for the summer, and too often bikes are abandoned on campus. Bikes are donated to R Community Bikes Inc., a grassroots organization that gathers and repairs bicycles to give to Rochester residents in need.
In addition to clothing and shoes, food, and toiletries, unwanted electronics were accepted as donations. With the help of Sunnking, the devices are safely refurbished, reused, and recycled, giving them a new purpose.
Complementing the Move-Out Cleanout program, Grassroots, the University’s largest environmental action and awareness group, held its annual Dump & Run collection program. The two-day event gathered about 1,100 pounds of unwanted items such as refrigerators, rugs, and mirrors. Grassroots then sells the collected items when new and returning students move in to their rooms. All profits help fund future Grassroot events such as the monthly clothing exchange and annual Earth Day celebration.
Both the Move-Out Cleanout and Dump & Run events will continue to help Rochester and its surrounding communities in the years to come while preventing unnecessary waste. Thank you to all of those who ensured another successful year for the programs including Planet Aid, Open Door Mission, UR Food Pantry, Sunnking, R Community Bikes Inc., Residential Life, Dining Services, University Facilities and Services, and all the students who generously donated their goods.
Written By Emily Su, Class of 2022