CORVALLIS, Ore. – As students moved out of their residence hall rooms at Oregon State University this June, they left behind them thousands of pounds of clothing, furniture and other no-longer-needed items.
But instead of filling up Dumpsters, the annual OSU residence hall donation drive successfully collected 17,558 pounds of material for people in need, beating 2010 records.
OSU’s Campus Recycling, Surplus Property and University Housing and Dining work together to collect the discarded material each year, depending on the initiative of students to sort and donate their unwanted items rather than tossing them in the garbage.
“This not only addresses the environmental impact of landfilling the material, but also provides an opportunity to give back to the community,” said Andrea Norris, outreach coordinator for Campus Recycling and Surplus Property.
This year, organizers hoped to beat their 2010 record of 11,651 pounds. They managed to collect 1.5 times as much.
Seventeen community members volunteered to help with collection, receiving, sorting and donating the material, helping make the donation drive a success. Volunteers contributed approximately 70 hours, critical in a time when the student work force is sparse during finals week.
While a small portion of the items were sold by OSU Surplus Property to recoup the costs of the donation drive, the majority of donations went to Benton Habitat for Humanity, Calvary Chapel of Corvallis, Corvallis School District, Goodwill, Linn Benton Food Share, Love INC, and the Vina Moses Center.
“The shoes were especially appreciated by our clients,” said Wilma Van Schelven, director of Love INC of Benton County, “They went to homeless citizens, pastors who live on low incomes and school coaches who need athletic shoes for students who are unable to afford them.”
In addition to shoes, other donated materials included clothing, bedding, unopened food and toiletries, school supplies, scrap wood and house wares. Students were provided with color-coded bags for sorting donations into bins in each residence hall’s lobby.
“We were so impressed and appreciative of our students, who took time out of their busy finals week schedules to sort and donate,” Norris said.