It’s actually quite easy being green

Sam Schmitz, president of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois, presents NIU’s Melissa Lenczewski with a certificate of appreciation.
Sam Schmitz, president of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois, presents
NIU’s Melissa Lenczewski with a certificate of appreciation.

Goodwill Industries is hoping NIU students will do another solid for the non-profit agency.

At the end of the past three semesters, as students were moving out of residence halls, they donated a whopping total of 19,281 pounds of clothing and household goods through the hugely successful NIU “Give and Go!” project.

Now, with finals again just around the corner, the spring 2014 donation drive is ramping up.

The large blue Goodwill bins are expected to be delivered to residence halls today (April 29), and the donation drive will run through Saturday, May 10, when the residence halls close.

Bins will be available in the lobbies of Gilbert Hall, Grant North, Stevenson South, Stevenson North, New Hall East, New Hall West, Douglas Hall and the breezeways of Neptune Central. (Because its students stay longer, Northern View Community will run on an altered schedule with bins available on staircases; check with NVC staff for schedule.)

Accepted items include, but are not limited to, gently used clothing, furniture, housewares, blankets and electronics. Unaccepted items include tube televisions, chemicals and carpeting. For a full list of accepted and unaccepted donations, see the signs on the bins as well as the “Give and Go!” posters in the residence halls.

Goodwill is working on the drive in concert with the Huskie Service Scholars and the Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy (ESE). Additionally, the Golden Key National Honors Society is coordinating the collection of non-perishable goods and toiletries.

NIU Give and GO! Move Out 2014ESE helped launch the Give and Go project, first as a pilot in December 2012. The donations reflect NIU’s commitment to helping keep the community green.

“People can’t believe how much we’ve collected,” says geology professor Melissa Lenczewski, director of NIU’s ESE Institute. “This effort saves the Earth, and you’re cleaning up the planet. It’s a great thing.

“These drives have spared NIU the cost of having to pay for disposal of more than 19,000 pounds of materials, which would have taken up space in a landfill,” she added. “Instead, the items were reused and repurposed. They go to a very worthy cause.”

Revenue from the sale of donated items helps fund Goodwill’s mission of providing jobs, job training, financial education and other crucial programs for people with employment barriers in the northern Illinois region.

“Goodwill is thrilled to have Northern Illinois University and its students take part in this donation drive,” said Sam Schmitz, president of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois. He and other Goodwill representatives visited campus earlier this month to present NIU with a certificate of appreciation.

“The NIU donations will help provide individuals with the opportunity to experience the power and dignity of work through Goodwill’s employment programs,” Schmitz said.

Goodwill logoThe U.S. Department of Education estimates that 3 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.

“We know NIU students are eco-friendly and willing to do something on behalf of the planet if it’s convenient and fun,” Schmitz said. “The Give and Go: Move Out Donation Drive is an easy clean-up solution that offers real results.”

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.

“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,” Schmitz said. “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.”

For more information, email kquesnell@niu.edu.

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