HEALTHY LIVING

'Dump & Run' Program Lets Colleges Sell Student Leftovers to Help Charities

06/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Trash Every May, college students all around the country pack up the contents of their dorm rooms and head home for the summer. But there’s quite a bit that they don’t bring along with them: each year, students leave behind tons of used clothing, furniture, nonperishable food (including, yes, plenty of the old college staple, Ramen noodles), and other assorted items.At most colleges, these items simply end up in trash heaps. But some savvy schools, recognizing that much of the student debris still has value, have made arrangements to use the items to help local charities and people in need.For schools looking to make the most of their students’ trash, a nonprofit group called Dump & Run, founded in 1999 by Lisa Heller Boragine, can provide the solution. Her organization helps schools collect student items and resell them, donating proceeds to charities. The group also offers consulting services to colleges that are looking to set up their own reselling programs.Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, has held an annual sorting session for the past eight years, using volunteers from local community groups to find items of value among the students’ trash, which are then sold in a giant yard sale. The money is distributed among the local organizations depending on how many hours their volunteers put into the event, but it can prove to be quite profitable: Last year, the yard sale’s profits amounted to $40,000.“It’s a win-win-win,” the school’s sustainability coordinator, Keisha Payson, told the Christian Science Monitor. “The housekeepers like it because there is less stuff to deal with, the community likes the great bargains, and students like it because they feel bad about putting stuff in the dumpster.”How you can help: If you live near a school holding a charity yard sale, make sure to stop by and pick up some great deals that you can feel good about. If you want to help Dump & Run spread the word about how colleges can become more sustainable and help their local organizations, make a donation to the group. By Kathryn Hawkins

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