What do college students do with the roomful of belongings that won’t fit into their cars after the year ends?
Students at Wingate University came up with a green solution with a humanitarian angle that is good for the environment and the community.
They named the project “Don’t’ Dump it. Donate it.” The students spent the first week in May collecting unwanted items from their friends before they left campus and stockpiled the merchandise in the university gymnasium.
“This was a fantastic event,” said Carolina Twiggs, director of service for Wingate University,” noting that all of the items were gone in about an hour on May 7. The university plans to continue the event next year.
Thousands of items covered the gym floor — from food to furniture. Most of the items would have ended up in the campus dumpsters. After hours of sorting and organizing, the students held a Community Giveaway day for local residents.
People came in droves to browse through the items offered for free. Students from the University Community Assistance Network (UCAN) organized the event with several classes on campus.
The project started last year to alleviate problems with dumpster diving by local residents after students leave.
“I have seen families walk up to the dumpster and help their children climb into the bin to pull out boxes of cereal,” said Sarah Hyde, association director of marketing and communication.
By the time doors opened, a few hundred residents had lined up at the door.
A pile of the college staple, Ramen Noodles, lay near a 20-foot row of shoes. Floor lamps stood in one corner and tables of folded clothing in another. “Our students themselves were amazed at the variety and quantity of items that could be recycled for others to use,” said Heather McDivitt, assistant professor of religion, who started the project last year with her ethics class.
Although items were free, the students collected donations to support future UCAN projects. They also asked for a $5 donation for each electronic device.