University Housing gave back last Saturday when it sponsored the Give It Up For Good sale where collected and donated items are sold to support local charities. Part of the EcoReps program, the sale donates its proceeds to Habitat for Humanity, Harvest Hope and Goodwill.
“What we’re doing is we're trying to divert the waste that would usually go into the dumpsters at the end of the semester into a product for people to purchase,” said Laura Anne Hunt, sustainability coordinator with University Housing Sustainability & Facilities Operations.
The sale is held at the end of both the fall and spring semesters, and any item can be donated by students, staff, faculty and community members.
“A lot of the stuff we get is like lamps and comforters and clothing and stuff that can be reused,” Hunt said. “Instead of allowing it to go to the landfill where it’s just going to be tonnage that goes to waste, we give it an opportunity for a second life.”
Not only is Give It Up For Good a great way to give to charity, but it also benefits the community by providing quality items for a cheaper price.
“The community loves it. We had people lined up at 6 a.m. — the sale started at seven,” Hunt said.
“It’s also pretty inexpensive stuff. It’s actually good deals so I think the community probably really liked that,” said Ashley Hrubala, EcoReps program coordinator for Sustainable Housing.
These cheaper items are particularly helpful for students who are living on their own for the first time. Many apartments are unfurnished, and students may not have their own furniture to move in. Give It Up For Good helps resolve this issue by providing furniture options for great prices.
“I wish I would have had known about it when I was moving into an apartment just because it’s very inexpensive stuff, and it’s pretty high quality,” Hrubala said.
Most of the items are donated by students, but faculty, staff and community members can visit residence halls to donate their own items. Hunt says that things left by students account for about 90 percent of the items.
Give It Up For Good has been so successful that storage has become a major problem. This is part of the reasoning behind having sales during twice during the school year.
“All the things collected at the end of the summer move out we save those for the winter Give It Up For Good sale,” Hunt said. “It gives us a chance to raise a different amount of money for a good cause.”
Organizers say an event this large could not have been accomplished without diligent workers spending hours upon hours dedicated to this common goal.
“We did a lot of the coordination, so we had to coordinate the housing move crew to set the boxes out, coordinate when the boxes should be going out depending on students’ schedules, coordinate when we could have students assisting with sorting or sitting by the boxes or just general question answering,” Hunt said. “Being that this was our first sale, we’re learning.”
Part of the workforce of Give It Up For Good are the university’s EcoReps, who serve as ambassadors of green living on campus.
“The EcoReps have, as part of their role as an EcoRep, they participate in the Give It Up For Good sorting,” said Hunt. “They give four to five hours at the end of the semester for Give It Up For Good, and so they did that. A lot of them chose to do that before the semester ended, but there were ... about five students that came and helped with the sorting and then also helped with the sale.”
One thing that separates Give It Up For Good from a regular yard sale is that those who are giving up the items do not receive any of the money. Instead, all of the proceeds go to a charity that the EcoReps choose.
“We asked the EcoReps … what organization they would like to have the donation go to and … they decided that continuing with Habitat for Humanity as the main partner would be great,” said Hunt. “The subsidiary partners were Harvest Hope, who’s the food bank, and Goodwill will be taking the remainder of the items.”
When recalling favorite moments of the sale, Hunt discussed how astonishing the donated items were.
“I think just seeing what people get rid of is just amazing. It's just astounding. We had everything from a Julius Caesar head bust to little Nike runner shoes for a newborn baby,” said Hunt.
Give It Up For Good has had a major impact on the community, charities and the students themselves. Collection will begin again in April for the spring sale when students are urged to volunteer.
“They don’t need to throw out anything … things can be repurposed and reused by other people. I guess it makes it easier on the student too. They don’t have to lug all their belongings to a dumpster or something. It’s just as simple as walking it down to the lobby,” said Hrubala.