The St. Thomas recycling team and Residence Life placed Goodwill drop boxes around campus two weeks ago to promote recycling and donation as students pack up their rooms.
Coordinator of Recycling and Central Receiving Bob Douglas said St. Thomas usually takes donations to Goodwill or other vendors when students move out. The drop boxes help eliminate this extra step.
“(Rather) than us having to take them over to Goodwill, they come and pick up the large containers,” Douglas said.
Goodwill is holding a national program called Give and Go, where they collaborate with colleges and universities to get donations, according to Douglas. St. Thomas applied for the program last December and was selected to participate, along with 14 other schools across the country.
Two large drop-off bins have been placed on campus. One is on the north side of Ireland Hall, and the other is outside Public Safety’s office. Douglas said there are 27 smaller boxes in dorms.
“We usually put them on the first floor,” Douglas said. “Somewhere in the lobby where people pass by.”
The goal of this program is to collect as much discarded and reusable clothing and other goods as is reasonably possible. The system minimizes logistical challenges during a busy time of the year for housing operations.
Freshman Ben Gaslin said that having the bins on campus saves students’ time.
“I think it’s a good idea because it’s incentive, and you don’t have to drive there,” Gaslin said. “Not all people have cars, so they’re right there, and it’s available.”
St. Thomas supports the program by providing administrative support, staff and volunteers. The university also needs to complete a program plan and report collection metrics, which will be used to judge the impact and success of the program over time.
Senior Quinn Andreasen said he thinks the amount of donations will depend on students.
“I think some people are (donating), and there are some people who aren’t because they’re lazy and are just going to throw them in the garbage,” Andreasen said.
According to Douglas, the outdoor bins will be collected before commencement.
“We can still leave the containers that are inside, but the outside containers with all the dumpsters roll off … they have to be removed before our guests arrive for graduation,” Douglas said. The bins inside the dorms, however, will stay until the week after graduation.
Douglas said there are many benefits to having the drop boxes.
“When students move out, they often throw away very usable … clothing and household goods, and it doesn’t make sense as far as putting in the landfill things that are still usable,” Douglas said. “All it does is fill up our landfills quicker, which raises taxes and causes environmental problems.”
Andreasen said he is in support of the donation effort.
“It’s good because it promotes sustainability,” Andreasen said. “I personally want to get rid of stuff, but at the same time you have a heart, and you don’t really want to throw it out. So, I think it makes you feel better about getting rid of something that’s useful.”