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School’s Out for Summer!

May 12, 2014
graduation caps thrown in air
Leanne Mazurick

School’s out, but there’s one final assignment before you head home for the summer…

First off – we would like to congratulate all the college students who are graduating this May and well done to those who finished up another academic year. Before you pack up your car and head home for summer break, we’ve got one final assignment for you. I know that’s the last thing you want to hear, but hear me out.

When I worked in Higher Ed, I saw first-hand how students wanted to hightail it home after finals were over. I also saw first-hand how much waste goes along with that…students dumping all sorts of furniture, clothing etc. into dumpsters set up on campus. Some of the time it was because that furniture had seen better days, but I also heard of students throwing things out because it didn’t fit into their cars for the journey home – so they decided to dump it. I know on some campuses they will actually take these items to a local Salvation Army so they can be used again instead of going to a landfill. So check to see if your campus has a program like this and if not, suggest that they start one! Better to give the unwanted items a second life than just throwing them into the landfill.

The other items that typically get tossed are non-perishable foods. Before you think about throwing them into the trash, visit to find a local food pantry near your campus where you can donate the food you have left in your dorm room or apartment. You won’t have to drag the food home and those in need in the local community will benefit from your donation. The campus I worked at actually put boxes in the residence halls for students to drop-off their extra non-perishable goods. They were sorted and donated to hunger-relief organizations near the college. Again, a great idea for you to suggest if your campus doesn’t already do this and be sure to check out Food Recovery Network and Campus Kitchens Project  for some other great food recovery ideas!

So put those smarts from this semester to good use and donate your unwanted food and/or other items rather than just pitching them in the garbage. You’ll be helping the environment by not adding to the landfill and you’ll be helping people in the community you call home from August to May. Just visit – It’s the final assignment that we know you can ace!

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