Posted by: rcieri | August 2, 2009

Dumpster diving: Students put excess garbage to good use

by Rachel Cieri, June 3, 2009

Tuesday evening after final exams ended, items awere literally flying over the third-floor railing of Elon University’s Colclough Hall and into an overflowing dumpster. A desk lamp, a set of dishes and an entire sofa were just a few of the items discarded in this year’s move-out garbage.

By the time finals end each year, Elon’s campus becomes a graveyard for dorm room rejects, and May 2009 was no exception.

According to director of Environmental Services David Worden, Physical Plant prepares for move-out by bringing 17 extra dumpsters to various locations on campus.

Although Worden said Physical Plant does not keep track of the student waste at the end of each year, each of the 30-yard dumpsters is emptied about four times.

Some groups, though, are putting the abandoned items to good use. Senior Dana Wolff was one of the first to advance the idea.

“Some students think it’s an ‘inconvenience’ for them to have to trek it all the way to the Salvation Army,” Wolff said of students’ waste. “It’s easier just for them to throw it in the trashcan.”

Director of Religious Life Phil Smith said several groups had been talking about collecting unwanted items, but Wolff was the first to advance the idea into a reality.

Smith and the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life have a longstanding relationship with Habitat for Humanity, so they decided to donate the used items to the charity’s ReStore program.

“We talked about what worked and what hadn’t, and the original idea was to directly furnish the houses (that Habitat for Humanity builds),” Wolff said. “They took the idea and worked with Habitat to find out what would be best for them.”

Residence Life and the Truitt Center have now set up several locations around campus to collect used items that will be sold at Habitat’s store. Proceeds from the “ReStore” will go toward building and furnishing homes for the needy.

Any unwanted furniture that is still in usable condition can be dropped off at the “big yellow truck” that will be parked in the Elon Community Church parking lot until Monday.

There has been a variety of donated items so far this year, from desks and tables to microwaves and appliances. Someone even donated a chandelier.

Ripped and damaged furniture can’t be accepted, meaning that some of the items left in the parking lot had to be rejected. That’s where juniors Colin Campbell and Kyle Banks come in.
When the pair stopped by to donate their own items, they volunteered to load the rejected furniture onto a trailer and move them to the dumpsters around campus.

“We have a trailer and time,” Banks said.

The two had no other incentive than the desire to help. Both former Habitat volunteers, Banks and Campbell are helping Habitat avoid footing the bill for disposing of the furniture and other unusable items.

“Quarter!” Banks said as he pulled a coin out from the cushions of an abandoned couch. “That’s my incentive today.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: