Goodwill campus move-out campaign under way

An extra set of sheets. Unwanted clothing. A clock. Sometimes, packing up means leaving things behind.

NIU students once again can put those items in the hands of people who can use them–and keep them out of the landfills–through the Goodwill Campus Move-Out campaign. Just drop them off in the large blue bins placed in the common areas of each NIU residence hall from Tuesday, May 1- Monday, May 14.

A partnership between NIU and Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois, the campaign began in 2012 as a way for students to donate what they no longer want to Goodwill. Accepted items include clothing, shoes and accessories, small electronics and appliances (no televisions), furniture, games, sports equipment, books, CDs, DVDs, computers, linens and blankets.

Near the bins, students also will find boxes where they can place non-perishable food items to be donated to a local pantry.

“It’s a great program because it seems people pack up as much as they can, and what doesn’t fit gets thrown in a dumpster,” said Jennifer Manning, associate director of Residential Facilities at NIU. “Now they have a place to put things.”

Since the campaign’s beginning, NIU has collected nearly 71,240 pounds for Goodwill. That translates to 11,540 hours of mission services.

Last year, the drive collected 1,129 pounds of donations from NIU, said Mary Ann Matus, corporate donations manager for Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois. Goodwill sells the items to help fund job placement and training services in the region.

But the benefit goes far beyond that.

“One great thing is it keeps a lot out of the landfill,” Matus said. “These are typically items — before this program started — that would just get thrown out. Environmentally, it’s a great impact.”

NIU employees check the bins nightly to schedule pickups with Goodwill throughout the two-week campaign, with bins often overflowing, Manning said.

Goodwill volunteers usually end up making daily trips to campus to empty bins, Matus said.

“NIU keeps us busy those first couple weeks of May, that’s for sure,” she said. “They really are making a difference. Instead of taking home items they may not necessarily want or use, they will be put to so much better use by putting them in our bins.”

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