Ditch the Dumpster offers valuable service to students, charities

As graduation nears, what to do with furnishings, clothing and even food that will not be going home with them when they leave in May is the last thing on students’ minds. Instead of tossing usable items in the trash, Ditch the Dumpster offers students a way to get rid of items they don’t have room to transport home while providing a valuable service to local charities.

“The students are in a panic at the end of the year. They’re thinking about graduation and dealing with finals. A lot of perfectly usable items were just getting thrown into the dumpster,” said Jennifer Pitts, founder of the program and administrative assistant to Health and Wellness and the Counseling Center.

Ditch the Dumpster will be held for two weeks before graduation, April 28-May 10. Boxes will be placed in the first-floor lounges of every residence hall to collect items for donation. Everything from furniture items to food is accepted.

“I think we donated 450 pounds of food to Help and Hope our first year,” Pitts said.

Students living in houses around campus or those in Sturbridge Apartments who want to make donations should contact Pitts to make arrangements for pick up.

Donations go to local charities including Help and Hope, the Independence County Humane Society’s Bargain Hound Boutique, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Some items also go to the campus Free Store, which collects clothing and is open to Lyon students, faculty and staff to shop for free. The Free Store began in the fall 2011 and has since incorporated Career Development’s clothes closet providing appropriate clothes for interviews and Health and Wellness’ jeans closet, which provides pants for students slimming down from the campus weight-loss program, The Biggest Winner.

Volunteers are always needed to help collect items that are donated. Those who would like to help with Ditch the Dumpster can contact Pitts at 307-7277 or email jennifer-pitts@lyon.edu.