As Haverford students made preparations to leave school for the summer, many parted with their old belongings, mostly clothes and furniture. These possessions did not, however, end up in the trash. Thanks to a new partnership with Goodwill, Haverford students were able to recycle 25,010 pounds of items, left behind as donations.
The Move-Out Recycling Committee, consisting of Haverford students, faculty, and staff, primarily concerned with the school’s environmental impact and Facilities efficiency, first met in December to brainstorm ideas of how to deal with the large volume of goods left behind in dorms at the end of the school year (45 tons in 2012!). Original ideas, influenced by peer institutions Swarthmore College and Dartmouth College included collecting the unwanted items and holding a summer community sale or a back-to school sale. A busy summer schedule at Haverford, along with a lack of personnel and storage, discrepancies over funding allocation, and the possibility of thefts made these sale ideas less than feasible for the Fords.
Assistant Director of Facilities Management Claudia Kent, who also serves as advisor of the Committee on Environmental Responsibility, was operative in making the connection with Goodwill. Donating goods or funds to charity was an idea that surfaced promptly in the brainstorming process, and by early February, Claudia had already met with Goodwill staff and given them a tour of Haverford’s campus. This meeting provided an early vision of how the Move-Out Recycling idea would become a reality. A huge obstacle was overcome when Goodwill confirmed that its own staff and volunteers would come to Haverford at the end of the year to be the manpower behind moving thousands of pounds of goods.
During finals week, large containers were present outside all of the dorms up campus, and students were encouraged to drop off any unwanted items as they packed up to go home for the summer. Sarah Glass ‘14 remarked, “I put so much stuff in there. It was great to get rid of a ton of clothes that I would have felt bad about throwing out, but I didn’t wear them anymore. I live far away and didn’t want to travel with a lot of extra stuff, and it was really easy and convenient to donate.”
Other students felt the same way, notable by the 11,360 pounds of goods that were donated during finals week alone. After Commencement, Goodwill went through the dorms as housekeeping crews were cleaning up, and claimed another 13,650 pounds of unwanted furniture, desk accessories, and more. Kent explained, “The list of items [Goodwill] will take is extensive. The only exception is heavily soiled clothing, food, and toiletries. What’s not fit to be sold in their stores will be recycled.”
Haverford’s Move-Out Recycling Committee was thrilled with the results of this spring’s event and hopes that this event can become an annual effort to divert lightly used clothing and furniture from ending up in the trash.