Sunday, June 15, 2008


Exam week just ended, and all the seniors are moving out. A lot of them aren't too good at figuring out how to get rid of all of their stuff, which means that you can collect an awful lot of useful junk just walking up and down alleyways.

For example:
  • a small vase
  • a stress ball
  • a scarf
  • a skirt
  • a pair of Asics runners in Dawn's size
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • several spools of thread
  • a book from the university library (?)
  • like-new hardcover copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • two volumes by Frantz Fanon
  • a gift bag
  • binder clips
  • a pair of gloves
  • countless sheets of paper (some ruled, some blank, some used on one side)
  • also notebooks (partly used, but not nearly full)
  • one of those holders for soap and whatnot you hang off of a shower head
  • push pins
  • three hole punch
  • ruler
  • white board marker
  • small white board
  • package of Razzles labeled "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHMOO!"
  • luggage
  • volleyball
  • 2 throw cushions
  • plastic knives, forks, cups
  • 2 pieces of tupperware
  • bowl
  • 2 full bottles of laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies
  • stand-up fan
  • box of chicken-flavoured ramen packages
  • pizza pan
  • oatmeal
  • stacking file crate with hanging files
  • fancy folder
  • sea salt
  • bottles: olive oil, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, peppermint schnapps
  • cans: chicken with rice soup (3), clear chicken soup, beef barley soup, chicken pot pie soup, chicken tortilla soup, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, chop suey vegetables, chickpeas, hot chili beans, pinto beans, tuna (4), kosher tuna (1), beef tamales (some of these will give me my first exposure to meat in a while--I wonder how that'll go)
  • lap top battery (for safe disposal)
That, at least, is what Dawn and I have retrieved thus far. (We plan to have another go at it in the near future.) We're not talking dumpster diving here, since all the dumpsters are overflowing; rather there are piles and piles of garbage-which-should-not-be-garbage external to the dumpsters.

If we'd needed furniture, we would've come back with a lot more stuff (potentially, absolutely everything you need to furnish an apartment). And if some of the piles and piles of clothes we found had been in a different size....

There really ought to be a convenient system in place whereby lazy departing seniors can get rid of all of their useful goods in a useful manner. (There's already a handy dandy website for advertising cheap or free second hand stuff to the university community, but that's apparently not enough.) Dawn and I figure something could be worked out with the Salvation Army or local thrift stores: sending some vans or trucks around at the end of every school year or some such. At any rate, the current system is crazy wasteful.

Plus I'm sure it's a big headache for the garbage collectors and / or the caretakers of some of these buildings. One of the piles of junk covered something like a 10 foot by 10 foot area, and was decorated with a fair bit of broken glass (nearby was an Apple monitor, which I'm sure was in perfect working order).


Anonymous said...

Many colleges and universities in Michigan work together with homeless shelters, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. at the end of the school year.

Toby said...


Do you know if any of those places has a system for dealing with students living in privately-owned off-campus apartments?

The thing is, there's no official connection between a lot of these buildings and the university. So I wonder if maybe the university might be disinclined to take responsibility here, even though these buildings are sometimes entirely populated by students, and are all in the neighbourhood surrounding the campus, a neighbourhood dominated by the university presence.... Something ought to be done, and I figure it shouldn't be all that hard to set something up. (If nothing else, Dawn and I are planning to drive around the alleys picking stuff up for donation this time next year, but the bigger items are going to be beyond us.)