The scene at the end of finals is a constant across undergraduate campuses—mountains of trash that teeter ominously outside of residence halls, overflowing with food and clothing! The problem is an obvious one. As students head home or graduate, they abandon thousands of pounds of lightly used and new dorm room filler. Beyond being a clean-up hassle, this is an enormous waste. However, things were a bit different at the University of Rochester this year. The mountain ranges were somewhat diminished because of the efforts of our University recycling coordinator, Amy Kadrie, who organized the first annual End of Year Cleanout.
Kadrie worked with Goodwill, Open Door Mission, and Sunnking to donate clothing, food, and electronics, respectively. To help ensure a smooth process, bins and drop-off points were set up and labeled. With everything in place, all that was left was to hope that students had read the signs, advertising the event. The tenor was tense at the beginning of the clean-out, but as time wore on, it became clear that students were informed and pickups organized.
In total, 350 pounds of food were donated, enough to feed about 70 adults for a day. Impressive as that is, 1,201 pounds of printers, fans, and other electronics were donated. In addition, Goodwill hauled 2,651 pounds of clothing and other textiles. That’s more than twice what RIT donated to Goodwill last year from a school half the size. In total, the University of Rochester donated the equivalent weight of a Jeep Grand Cherokee to the Rochester community.
“With the help of our Facilities and Res Life staff, we targeted most of the undergraduate campus this year,” says Kadrie. “Everyone involved cooperated extremely well to yield great results, so next year we may expand the program to reach the new Riverview apartments, the graduate community and UR employees.”