Rows of clothes, fridges and other dorm room essentials lay on the floor of the Schreiber Gym at the University of Montana on Wednesday after being cast off by university students moving out of residence halls.
The fourth annual Campus Thrift sale was hosted by the UM Office of Sustainability.
Four Campus Thrift collection tents were set up during move-out week in an attempt to divert items from the trash that are purged by students at the end of spring semester.
“It’s neat that they’re keeping this stuff out of the landfill,” said Vicki Watson, a retired environmental studies professor and volunteer. UM's 2007 Greenhouse Gas Inventory estimated the university sends more than 2,200 tons of solid waste to the landfill every year. According to the Office of Sustainability’s website, 18 percent of UM's waste is currently being diverted from landfills, but there is a goal to divert 25 percent.
International students get rid of the most stuff, nearly everything, before they move back to their home country, said Eva Rocke, UM’s sustainability coordinator. “They buy everything here and then get rid of everything,” she said.
Students get rid of a wide variety of items — some a little more unusual, such as laser tag guns — along with the dozens of rugs and coffee makers. Perishable and hygiene items are donated directly to the Poverello Center, Rocke said. At the end of the sale local nonprofits come in and take many of the leftover items. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore looks for items they can sell such as furniture and hardware, according to ReStore employee, Nate Balano.
“About 85 percent of the stuff will either be sold or taken by the nonprofits. The rest will hopefully be brought to Goodwill,” Rocke said.
The sale draws in students, faculty and community members looking for bargains. Student Parker Errecart came to the sale in search of a toaster and left after successfully finding one, as well as a few bowls that he said are perfect for cereal, a staple in the college student diet.
The sale typically makes around $2,000 which is split among the Associated Students of the University of Montana's Renter Center, UM Recycling and the Office of Sustainability. Rocke said in past years she has used the extra funds for campus events, bringing speakers to campus and sponsoring students to go to sustainability conferences.