Campus News

Dump & Run Sale Exceeds All Expectations

Story posted June 24, 2002

Bowdoin College's first annual Dump & Run sale exceeded all expectations Saturday, June 8, diverting almost all discarded student material from the landfill and raising $11,788 in the process.

"Our primary goal was to reduce the amount sent to the landfill," said Keisha Payson, coordinator for a sustainable Bowdoin, who oversaw the project. "An additional benefit was raising money for local non-profit organizations by selling the items. We hoped to make $5,000."

To have eliminated some 98% of the amount otherwise destined for the landfill, and to have raised more than twice the goal, was gratifying.

"Hardly anything was left!" said Payson, who estimated that they had collected about 50 truckloads of items from departing students. (Collection boxes were placed in dorms, and Dumpsters were draped with signs encouraging students to give usable items to Dump & Run rather than “feed the trash monster.”)

Just one truckload of material ultimately went to the landfill.

No clothing or rugs wound up at the landfill, unless they were irreparably damaged, torn or stained. Most of the leftover clothing was donated to clothing banks in Brunswick and Bath. That clothing will not be sold, but rather given to those agencies’ clients. The Salvation Army and Goodwill also received clothing.

Leftover foamcore mattress pads were donated to the Humane Society. One person took all the leftover rugs. “He had some use for them,” said Payson, obviously pleased that so many items were getting a second (or third) life.

Clothes, furniture, rugs, appliances and electronics were only part of what Payson and her crew collected. Over 1,000 pounds (1,035 to be exact) of toiletries, unopened food, and laundry detergent was rounded up and given to local food banks and shelters.

The money raised from the sale will benefit local non-profit organizations that provided volunteers to assist. Some 623 volunteer hours were put in sorting, folding, marking, displaying, and selling the items (this does not include staff hours).

The money raised will be divided based on number of hours worked by individual volunteers. (Payson must first cover some expenses, like truck and table rentals and newspaper advertising, and give a share of the take to the national Dump & Run organization for services and support.)

Of the organizations participating, the one accruing the most volunteer hours was Sweetser, which provided eight volunteers working at various times throughout the project.

“This was a wonderful experience,” said Linda Danielson of Sweetser. “We were with it from the start, when we helped collect all the items left in the dorms, and we worked through the whole process. It was fascinating. We’ll be very pleased to do it again next year!”

Sweetser plans to use its portion of the Dump & Run kitty for their volunteer program. When volunteer mentors take their mentees to movies, concerts, or sporting events, for example, the money will help pay the price of admission. These admissions usually come out of the volunteers’ own pockets.

Other local organizations benefiting from Dump & Run are the Brunswick-Trinidad Sister City Organization, Volunteers of America, Maine Independent Media, Habitat for Humanity, Kiwanis, Justice, Ecology and Democracy Collective, Midcoast Cheerleaders Association, and Brunswick High School's environmental program. A share will also go to a local individual who worked to raise money for a school in Tanzania.

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