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Residence hall clean-out yields a ton of donations

Published on May 30, 2023

Residence hall clean-out yields a ton of donations

The residence hall clean-out crew included, from left, University Relations staff member Kevin Paquin with students Jake Sweeney, a senior; Josh Roy, a sophomore; and Antonio Cazassa, a senior.

Hauling items for delivery to area charities

It was the ultimate “Clean your room!” refrain at Eastern Connecticut State University at the close of spring semester, with students collecting more than a ton of bedding, household goods, clothes and other items in a clean-out of residence hall rooms that benefited local charities.

The “Warriors Don’t Waste” program, collecting items May 1-12, was organized by senior Jacob Sweeney as part of his internship with Eastern’s Institute for Sustainability. Students at six residence halls donated 2,253 pounds of items that were delivered to the Covenant Soup Kitchen, the No Freeze Shelter and the Salvation Army in Willimantic. That included 605 pounds of clothes, 108 pounds of bedding, 909 pounds of food, 134 pounds of toiletries and 497 pounds of “miscellaneous” items that ranged from pots and pans to fans, microwaves and fridges.

The last time the clean-out was held on campus was in 2019, but it was suspended during COVID. Sweeney, a residence assistant who had contacts with hall and housing directors, saw reviving it as an opportunity to reduce waste and give back to the community.

“It was great being able to reboot the program and lay a foundation for this to keep growing into the future,” said Sweeney.

facilities crew

Facilities staff members, from left, Dan Barrows and Moises Flores, delivered goods to the local charities.

He got the idea from the previous program, which was organized by Joshua Sumrell, now coordinator of Eastern’s Intercultural Center. As an intern, Sweeney had the freedom to choose any project that was related to environmental science. In February, he began to research how to do it and recruit students and staff to help.

The residence halls that were collection points this year were Noble (342 pounds of goods donated) Laurel (726 pounds), Nutmeg (586 pounds) Constitution (156 pounds), Niejadlik (192 pounds) and Mead (251 pounds). All residence halls participated.

Sweeney reached out to Lexie Mastroianni at the Center for Community Engagement at Eastern, who helped with volunteers to monitor stations. Facilities staff helped move the items from campus to the charities. Olivia Zumpano, a social media intern with the Sustainability Office, created a flier to publicize the event.

“We literally collected a ton of stuff,” said Patricia Szczys, director of the Institute for Sustainability.

Moms would have been proud.

Written by Lucinda Weiss