Approximately 25 tons of gently used items donated by SUNY Oneonta students were saved from the waste stream and given new life this week, thanks to the Office of Sustainability's annual Move-Out Donation and Reuse Collection program, a partnership with The Arc Otsego.
On- and off-campus students moving home at the end of the semester donated thousands of pounds of items this year. On Tuesday, May 23, community members were invited to “shop” the items during a free sale hosted by The Arc Otsego's Otsego ReUse Center, located at 23 Duane St.
Mountains of Goods On Their Way to New Homes
More than 300 shoppers stood in a line that wound through the ReUse Center parking lot and around the corner onto Duane St., where dozens of cars were parked. Mountains of clothing, bedding, rugs, appliances, books, mirrors, small furniture and other goods were piled high. One small group at a time, shoppers entered a roped off area, rummaged through the items and filled reusable bags to take home.
SUNY Oneonta Sustainability Coordinator Rachel Kornhauser and other volunteers milled around the roped off area, directing shoppers, answering questions, folding and hanging clothing, consolidating, and organizing as the piles dwindled.
“We're so happy to work together with The Arc Otsego on this initiative each year," Kornhauser said. “Move-Out is a great opportunity to support the community while practicing the university's core values of sustainability and service and keep items that students can no longer use out of the landfill."
The day before the free sale, 15 local nonprofits were invited to “shop” the donations so that they could have first pick, Kornhauser explained. Anything left over will either go to The ReUse Center or the Family Service Association.
“A Win for Everybody”
The Move-Out Donation and Reuse collection is just one of many initiatives organized by the university's Office of Sustainability throughout the semester, including cardboard and Styrofoam recycling during student move-in, single-stream recycling and TerraCycle collections, clothing donation drives and pop-up shops at the student-run Red Closet Thrift Shop. The office works to integrate sustainability into both the residential and academic experience.
Event host The Otsego ReUse Center, a project of The Arc Otsego, keeps items with life left in them out of the waste stream and offers them to the general public at affordable prices. Shopping the buildings at The Otsego ReUse Center is a great way to support the mission of The Arc Otsego, as all proceeds benefit individuals served by the agency. The ReUse Center is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.
"Since we opened the Otsego ReUse Center in 2018, SUNY Oneonta has been a great partner," said Faith Tiemann, Chief Marketing Officer of The Arc Otsego. “SUNY Move-Out not only benefits our environment, but it really helps to distribute items with usable life left in them to non-profits and residents in Otsego County. Free shopping for the nonprofits and residents is a great way to continue to engage our local community. Since keeping items with usable life left in them out of the waste stream is our main goal at the ReUse Center, this event is a perfect fit for our mission year after year.”