Project encourages student donation


Kathryn Voight (left), freshman history and German major, and freshman nursing major Alex Filippini donate to Goodwill Tuesday in the New Residence Hall Commons. The NIU Give and Go: Move Out 2014 donation drive is held to encourage students to donate unwanted items before summer vacation.

By Betsy Mathew

Students will be able to donate clothing and other unwanted items to the NIU Give and Go: Move Out 2014 donation drive, which started Tuesday and runs to May 10.

The project was started by Keep America Beautiful, Goodwill and the College and University Recycling Coalition as a way to encourage students to do something positive and reduce waste by donating unwanted items found while cleaning out their residence hall rooms before summer vacation, according to a news release.

Bins will be available in the lobbies of all residence halls, as well as Neptune Central. Students can donate, but are not limited to, gently used clothing, electronics, furniture, books and non-perishable food items.

NIU’s Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy teamed up with Goodwill Industries on their pilot program in December 2012. Since then, NIU has been able to collect 15,000 pounds of donations.

Melissa Lenczewski, geology professor and director of the ESE Institute, attended a presentation where the Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois spoke about Goodwill and its environmental mission. Lenczewski said she put two and two together and realized the drive would be a good project to get behind.

Lenczewski said she wants to see the program become incorporated into the university’s culture and for students to become aware of where the bins are located.

“Instead of throwing things out, [I want] students [to] donate more. It becomes something we just do,” Lenczewski said.

Lenczewski said students want to clean out their rooms before summer break and the donation drive will give them an opportunity to not only get rid of unwanted items, but to also make a difference in the community.

Kathryn Quesnell, graduate coordinator of the donation drive, said Goodwill is a good organization that helps people get into the workforce.

“They like to help immigrants and people with disabilities, especially people who wouldn’t necessarily have an easy way into the workplace,” Quesnell said. “They’re giving them training hours.”

Quesnell said the donation drive does not just help prevent landfills from filling up, but also saves the university money by Goodwill voluntarily picking up the disposal.

“We just want Give and Go to grow,” Quesnell said.

Sam Schmitz, Goodwill Northern Illinois president, said in a news release that the drive is a convenient and enjoyable way for students to be eco-friendly.

“This is a growing problem for DeKalb,” Schmitz said, according to the news release. “The Give and Go: Move Out donation drive is an easy clean-up solution that offers real results.”