10-Day Give offers solution to end-of-year waste

By Alicen Meysing – Horizon News Editor

Overwhelming. Overflowing. And just gross.

Seven years ago, these terms could have been used to describe Hesston College dumpsters at the end of the school year. As students packed up their dorm rooms, every unwanted item –  unopened packages of Maruchan Ramen, old clothes and damp towels – ended up in the trash.

Nowadays, students looking to get rid of their stuff have the perfect answer: The 10-Day Give.

The 10-Day Give gives students a chance to think about what they’re going to take with them when they leave campus. Left-behind items get a second chance at life.

Starting May 5, collection boxes for items will be placed near each mod. Once the boxes are full students, faculty, and staff who work as volunteers transfer the boxes down to the Free Store located in the basement of Erb, next to Stutzley Lounge.

Boxes like these will be placed in each mod and routinely emptied in the Free Store. Clothing and other items will be sorted for donation to area non-profits.

This service has not always been part of Hesston College. The 10-Day Give began in 2011 after staff at Hesston noticed the waste at the end of the school year. Books, clothing and school supplies – perfectly usable and valuable items – clogged the mod trashcans. Couches, lamps and chairs were simply thrown over the side of the Erb Hall balcony to the open dumpsters below. 

Karen Sheriff LeVan, an English faculty member who helped start the program, wanted to see an end to the waste. But she also knew that it takes time to sort through items at the end of the year.

“Understandably, students are not thinking about packing until the very end of the school year,” Sheriff LeVan said. “To respect and acknowledge that it takes some effort and time to actually give things away in a respectful way, we decided to give it 10 days before students would move out of the dorms.”

After all the donated items are transferred to Stutzley Lounge, students looking for specific items can go check the Free Store for whatever they need, otherwise the materials will be donated at the end of the year.

The Campus Stewardship Council will hold a garage sale in June, selling some of the donated 10-Day Give items to fund other green initiatives on campus.

“We sort and pack up all the supplies we’ve collected,” Sheriff LeVan said. “Then we either donate to a churches, non-profit organizations, Et Cetera, even Mennonite Central Committee. The last two years the Campus Stewardship Committee has also held a garage sale to raise money to help pay for the sustainability efforts on campus.”

Some donated items are set aside in the Free Store for incoming students: Binders, plastic hangers, shower caddies, wastebaskets and other office supplies or room decor are in high demand opening weekend among students who’d rather not make another trip to Wal-Mart.

Sheriff LeVan is quick to clarify that the project is a group effort.

“A lot of people help contribute to this project, but I know it wouldn’t be able to happen without the help of Kendra Burkey or Randy Toews and so many others faculty, students, and staff.”

For more information, attend the 10-Day Give Launch forum on May 5.


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