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Give and Go: College students urged to donate responsibly

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With the end of the spring term and students packing up for the summer break, colleges and universities are preparing for the annual move-out flood of unwanted household items typically discarded by students departing on-campus housing.

This year, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb is participating in a nationally piloted program called Give and Go: Move Out 2013 to keep these items out of the trash and instead see them put to “good re-use”. Between April 30 and May 11, NIU is working with Goodwill to set out special donation bins at residence halls, for use by students cleaning out their rooms.

The U.S. Department of Education estimates that three million students live in campus housing at 2,100 U.S. colleges and universities nationwide. Each year, students leaving campus encounter storage and car trunks that can only hold so much, and often leave perfectly good clothes, electronics, books and furniture in overflowing campus dumpsters.

“This is a growing problem for DeKalb,” said Goodwill President, Sam Schmitz. “We know NIU students are eco-friendly and willing to do something on behalf of the planet if it’s convenient and fun. Give and Go: Move Out 2013 is an easy clean-up solution that offers real results.”

The pilot initiative, organized by Keep America Beautiful and Goodwill in conjunction with the College and University Recycling Coalition, encourages college students to do something good by donating their unwanted clothing, kitchen items, electronics, books and dorm items as they clean out for summer break. The purpose of Give and Go is to encourage students to reduce waste and boost existing sustainability practices on campus. After students donate their goods, those items are sold at Goodwill stores, and the revenue is used to fund job training and community-based services for people who face challenges to finding employment.

NIU was one of five universities chosen for the initiative. Also participating are Creighton University in Nebraska, Franklin College in Indiana, Trinity University in Texas, and University of Toledo in Ohio.

“A box of books can provide 13 hours of on-the-job training, eight desk lamps can provide an hour-and-a-half of résumé preparation,” said Schmitz.  “Give and Go is an opportunity to donate responsibly and recognize how donating the things you can no longer use can have an important social impact.”

Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois has dropped off large blue containers in the lobby of residence halls, and students will be encouraged to donate items that they’re not taking home. When full, containers will be emptied and replaced. This will last through the semester’s end.

For more information, call Goodwill at 815-987-6237 or visit www.goodwillni.org.

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