UI Donation Drive shoots to double amount of donations

BY CASSIDY RILEY | MAY 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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As the Year End University of Iowa Donation Drive kicks off, officials say they hope to see the donations double over last year’s.

Andrea Uhl, a graduate student in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, started the donation drive in 2011 as a class project. In the first year, it collected more than 6,000 pounds of donations, and Uhl said she would like to reach that number again this year.

The drive collects, among other items, furniture, clothes, and appliances. Most of what is collected goes to the Goodwill of the Heartland and the Habitat ReStore. Last year, the drive collected 3,800 pounds of donated materials.

“I wanted to make it really easy for people moving out to drop off their stuff at the last minute,” Uhl said. “I’m pretty confident [we’ll reach our goal]. We advertised more this year. Even if we don’t meet it, as long as people aren’t throwing things away instead, I feel our mission will be accomplished.”

Uhl said the purpose of the drive is to prevent things that could be reused or recycled from being put in landfills because that space is limited. The drive was held in the Quad courtyard Wednesday. Today, there will be trucks behind Mayflower and in front of Burge.

Uhl said they received approximately 1,000 pounds Wednesday and around two-thirds of the truck was full.

“When she first came to us, we thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what a great idea,’ ” said Liz Christiansen, the director of the Office of Sustainability. “If you’re not taking it home, chances are most of your material can be donated.”

The Sustainability Office, Goodwill of the Heartland, Habitat ReStore, UI Housing and Dining, Johnson Country Crisis Center, UI Facilities Management, and the city of Iowa City are partners in this drive and support it through different means, ranging from advertising to financial support.

Dana Engelbert, the vice president of marketing for Goodwill, said in 2010, a truck was sent to all of the residence halls to pick up donations. Now, Goodwill participates in the drive and pays student organizations $250 stipends to volunteer at the drive.

“That’s a challenge to get a truck in and out of there, and it’s also very expensive,” she said. “We have a great experience working with the student groups.”

While Goodwill takes a lot of what is donated to its stores, the Habitat ReStore accepts any microwaves, mini-fridges, and broken futon frames that are given. Wren Almitra, the interim ReStore director, said it has smaller trucks that can navigate campus easily and help with any donation overflow.

“Part of the restore mission is waste diversion,” she said. ‘There are a lot of perfectly usable goods that would go in a landfill when students throw them out. [We’re happy] to partner with other organizations that do great work in the community.”

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