By: Megan Schuller, Editor-In-Chief
As students were moving out of the dorms last May, unwanted items were donated during a ‘Move Out Donation Drive’ coordinated by the collaborative work of Campus Planning and Operations, Residence Life and thrift retailer company Savers.
According to the RU Sustainability Blog, these donated dormitory items totaled 960 pounds of unwanted goods and prevented them from being thrown away. The drive was held from May 4-13 in the Residence Life lounge area and the items collected were donated to Savers which is reselling the items.
The blog stated that, “Roosevelt being a non-profit university, Savers purchased all donated items on a per-pound basis: 20 cents per pound of soft goods, and 5 cents per pound of hard goods. By simply dropping off their gently used items in the Residence Life lounge area, student donations earned our institution a total of $171.30.”
Rebecca B. Quesnell, former Sustainable Operations Coordinator helped find the vendor Savors for RU to work with. As a former RU Alum (BA ’15) and through her work as part of Campus Planning and Operations, she said she saw a need for the donation drive.
“I am aware of sustainability related issues, such as the impact of student move out and of usable items being thrown away and likely, going to landfills thereafter,” Quesnell said. “I had also heard of how other colleges and universities have similar programs in order to cut back that waste and wanted to move RU in the direction of doing the same.”
What students didn’t see after they dropped off their items and left for summer break was the work behind donating the items to Savers. Karl Turnlund, Residence Hall Coordinator of Roosevelt explained how all the items were sorted through by staff to ensure that they were able to be donated.
“It took a little time and effort because we had such an excellent turnout of donations, but it was worth it knowing that those items would be reused, repurposed, and appreciated instead of thrown out,” Turnlund said.
Not only did the drive reduce waste for the university, but it gave students a chance to do some spring cleaning by getting rid of things are left with at the end of the year. These donated items are given a “second life” according to Turnlund as they are resold to families who need them throughout Chicagoland.
In previous years, staff would collect resident donations and take them to a Goodwill. Turnlund said that this was the first drive they partnered with Savers, but it is an annual event and there will be another drive this upcoming spring as residents move out for next summer.
“It’s essential to provide this kind of outlet for residents, and I hope that it grows larger every year. Looking through what people throw out can be heartbreaking because some of those items could definitely have been donated,” Turnlund says. “Next year, I hope to work with my staff to get residents thinking about what they might donate before they even begin to pack up their spaces for the academic year.”
It took the joining of departments and student participation effort for this drive to be successful both in terms of sustainability and in money raised for the university.
“This move-out donation drive was beneficial for the university in one big way: we were able to actively show our dedication and commitment to sustainability and thus, social justice,” Quesnell said. ”The amount we raised was good for the first year.”