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Zero Waste Coordinator meeting with Kasey Umland

Posted by Daphne Hulse on January 24, 2023

On January 24, Daphne Hulse met with Kasey Umland, Director of the Women's Resources Center, formerly the Associate Director at University YMCA, to discuss the following:

  1. What is the history of UIUC-YMCA Dump and Run events?

    1. Started with private certified housing, religious affiliated groups around 2012. 3 semi-trailers worth of stuff from campus and from the community. A lot of staff time went into the program.

    2. Previously had 2 boxes on every floor of Illini tower, which was a huge source of items. 26 boxes in this one building. Change in Illini tower management meant YMCA couldn’t do collections here anymore. It was great to have the materials, but hard to get everything out in time. the same year, University Housing came to YMCA about their Housing salvage drive (the person who ran it left). This was the first year YMCA collaborated with UIUC.

      1. Started doing some university housing dorms, but not all.

      2. Realized they couldn’t keep up with the overflow of materials.

      3. Big shift in kinds of items they received. Went from servicing mini apartments/suites (Illini Tower) versus university dormitories. 10x the amount of stuff as before with the Illini tower. 3/4 was clothing and bedding.

    3. Talked to Housing and needing more resources. It was too hard for YMCA to keep up. Majority of volunteers who did collections were students, but it was finals. Had a close relationship with them, but students would need to go right when things were picking up near the end of the move out week.

  2. Based off a quick survey of other schools move-out programs, it seems most common for schools to work with local nonprofit(s) to immediately donate items following the move out program. As opposed to storing items over the summer and preparing for a fall move-in sale. Thoughts about these two different ways of operating?

    1. Donating most items straight away seems like it may be the only way it can work for the university, since there’s an immense quantity of items to deal with.

    2. Suggest talking with intended recipients of non-profits beforehand, to see if they can accept it all immediately, or if it will be too much.

    3. Even when YMCA was running it, their excess was too much for some places.

    4. Salt and light had capacity.

    5. Goodwill said to stop (no more clothes).

    6. Most places would say they would want at least some items.

    7. The value of selling these items in a sale near move in is that there are items unique the college experience: XL twin sheets, for example.

  3. What are some best practices for event coordination?

    1. If you are dealing with multiple sites - think in advance about plotting out how to do collections.

    2. Thinking about when things will come in from certain places. Which were high donation spots? Some will only need checked every so often, some places needed checked 2 or 3 times a day.

    3. Capacity - Kasey always wanted something better than just putting items in a cardboard box.

      1. It is easier if items are placed directly into a bag. Otherwise, volunteers have to do this work.

    4. Try to be really clear about what people can and cannot donate. In a perfect world, check the boxes in the evening, that’s when students move out.

  4. We will have to rely on the help of volunteers, but students will have their finals during this time, and be moving out. We want to strengthen town and gown relations through this program. Any suggestions for local groups/organizations who would be good to reach out to who you think would have an interest in volunteering?

    1. Rotary Clubs

    2. Church or high school youth groups

    3. If the university would consider half day leave, that could be an incentive

    4. during business hours means it increases the privilege needed to participate

    5. Honors societies

    6. Sierra Club

    7. Junior League

    8. Humane Society

    9. Court Diversion