Massachusetts Daily Collegian

New2U Tag Sale encourages students to donate used items

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Juliette Sandleitner/Daily Collegian

Juliette Sandleitner/Daily Collegian

During the fall 2014 move-in weekend, Sustainable UMass will be holding its first ever New2U Tag Sale, a sustainable initiative designed to promote the reuse of used items. In preparation for this event, Sustainable UMass will be collecting students’ unwanted, used items during the last week of school this semester to be sold at the tag sale on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 this fall.

Jackie Hynes, UMass senior and Eco-Rep Program Manager, describes this pilot program as “an expansion of our existing Sustainable Move-Out program.” Until 10 p.m. each day from May 4 to 9, students will be able to drop off their items in bins under the reuse tent on the Coolidge Hall Lawn in Southwest Residential Area.

Over the summer, the items will then be stored, cleaned, and labeled before being sold in the fall. With “don’t feed the trash monster!” as their slogan, the New2U Tag Sale serves as an opportunity for UMass students to reuse items while reducing their carbon footprint. All proceeds will be used to fund this pilot program and other sustainability projects on campus.

Along with Ezra Small, Campus Sustainability Manager, other students leading this initiative are Waste & Recycling Fellow Alexandra Gabriel, Student Sustainability Coordinator Liz Pongratz, and Eco-Rep Facilitator and future Eco-Rep Program Manager Kevin Hollerbach.

This project is also sponsored by the UMass Sustainability Innovation & Engagement Fund, a grant program which allows any one group on campus to receive up to $12,000 to fund  an idea that will either generate an economic payback or engage the campus community in an environmentally focused experience. After Gabriel submitted a proposal to the grant program, Sustainable UMass won with the New2U Tag Sale as their project.

Some other sustainable efforts going on at UMass include the clothing swap being held this year by Sustainable UMass, the current clothing drive run by Isenberg, and NetImpact’s drive of energy, power and granola bar wrappers in conjunction with TerraCycle, a company that focuses on the recycling of formerly non-recyclable or difficult-to-recycle waste.

“There are a lot of different ways to get into Sustainable UMass which I think is really interesting…” Hollerbach, the advertising head for New2U, said. Some ways that students can become involved are through organizations such as the Sustainability Fellowship Program, Eco-Reps, the Permaculture Committee, Gardenshare and Sustainable UMass Action Coalition (SUMAC).

As advertising head, Hollerbach came up with the tag sale’s logo, worked on the promotional material, put together a slide for the Housing Services Cable Network, the campus cable system, and reached out to WMUA to air a public service announcement about the event.

But the success of this event so far, in regards to organization, stems from the cooperation of a multitude of groups on campus.

“It’s kind of great because everyone in New2U is sort of involved in their own separate thing,” Hollerbach said. He then noted that many of the people involved are part of at least one of the previously mentioned sustainable groups on campus.

When discussing his experience with Eco-Reps, one of these programs, Hollerbach noted, “Facilitating’s really great…for me personally, I really think that education is the first step to getting people to make change.” Through this program, he recognizes that students can become more educated on issues that they are already familiar with and have a passion to pursue.

Despite the struggles with getting volunteers and determining  where exactly the donated items will be stored, the New2U organizers expect that this event will run very smoothly. “I think as long as we can manage ourselves well enough to be successful this year, which I think that we will be, then we can slowly start expanding outside of Southwest and hopefully be successful there too,” Hollerbach said.

Ultimately, the mission of this tag sale, according to him, is that “students are aware of an alternative.” He added, “I’m excited to see students get motivated about donating their stuff and not throwing it away.”

Items that are acceptable to donate include the following: furniture; electronics (including broken); non-perishable food; laundry detergent; plastic drawers, shelves and organizers; shower caddies and toiletry items; areas rugs and fans; clothing and shoes; lamps; posters and décor; books and school supplies; cleaning supplies; kitchen supplies and dishware; and mirrors. Any of the items that cannot be reused, will be recycled instead.

The student organizers expect that the week of donations in May will be hectic, with May 8 and 9 extra busy, as most students move out on the last two days of school. To volunteer for the event, students can visit www.postlandfill.org/umassamherst and sign up for a shift. The first 50 volunteers that sign up to help out and show up on time will receive a free gift.

Julia McLaughlin can be reached at [email protected]

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