Online Staff Report
DEKALB, Ill. — Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois and Northern Illinois University (NIU) teamed up and created an imperative partnership for the DeKalb campus and community in 2013.
NIU students and faculty collected gently-used clothing and other unwanted items for the “Give and Go: Move Out 2013” Donation Drive in spring 2013 and the “Goodwill, Not Landfill!” Donation Drive in the winter of 2013.
Goodwill supplied special donation bins at all residence halls for use by students cleaning out their rooms. During move-out periods, NIU sees a flood of unwanted household items typically discarded by students departing on-campus housing. Revenue from the sale of these items will then help fund Goodwill’s mission of providing jobs, job training, financial education and other crucial programs for people with barriers in the DeKalb area.
The donations also reflect NIU’s commitment to helping keep the community green. Donations to Goodwill are recycled and repurposed, instead of going straight to the area’s landfills.
In 2013, the college collected more than 15,000 pounds of donations for Goodwill from the two donation drives. These pounds of donations will then fund 2,490 hours of training to enhance the lives of people with barriers in this community.
“Goodwill is thrilled to have Northern Illinois University and its students take part in this donation drive,” said Sam Schmitz, president of Goodwill Industries. “The NIU donations will help provide individuals with the opportunity to experience the power and dignity of work through Goodwill’s employment programs.”
Goodwill and NIU are planning for the “Give and Go: Move Out 2014” donation drive to coincide with the end of the spring term in early May and students packing up for the summer break. Between April 29 and May 10, Northern Illinois University will once again work with Goodwill to set out special donation bins at residence halls for use by students cleaning out their rooms.
The U.S. Department of Education estimates 3 million students live in campus housing at 2,100 U.S. colleges and universities nationwide. Each year, students leaving campus encounter storage and car trunks that can only hold so much, and often leave perfectly good clothes, electronics, books and furniture in overflowing campus garbage bins.
“This is a growing problem for DeKalb,” said Schmitz. “We know NIU students are eco-friendly and willing to do something on behalf of the planet, if it’s convenient and fun. The Give and Go: Move Out donation drive is an easy clean-up solution that offers real results.”
The program, initially organized by Keep America Beautiful and Goodwill in conjunction with the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), encourages college students to do something good by donating their unwanted clothing, kitchen items, electronics, books and dorm items as they clean out for summer break. The purpose of Give and Go is to encourage students to reduce waste and boost existing sustainability practices on campus. After students donate their goods, those items are sold at Goodwill stores, and the revenue is used to fund job training and community-based services for people who face challenges to finding employment.
“A box of books can provide 13 hours of on-the-job training, eight desk lamps can provide an hour-and-a-half of résumé preparation,” said Schmitz. “Give and Go is an opportunity to donate responsibly and recognize how donating the things you can no longer use can have an important social impact.”
For more information, call Goodwill at (815) 987-6237 or visit www.goodwillni.org.
Posted May 7, 2014