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Zero Waste Coordinator meeting with Marc Alexander, YMCA

Posted by Daphne Hulse on January 23, 2023

On January 19, Daphne Hulse met with Marc Alexander, Director of Development and Membership at University YMCA, to discuss the following:

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

    1. Started to 20ish years ago as a garage sale (2001) in front of the YMCA. Clearing stuff outside of the building. Grew to a community collection, private residential collection, Housing was doing some salvage operation, approached the Y about helping do a program. Through 2019, The YMCA would collect from Housing every May.

    2. 2019 Y started doing renovation in the building and streets so the YMCA couldn’t use the building for collections.

    3. Started conversations about the YMCA pulling back, and then COVID hit.

    4. Last year YMCA and UIUC had a very long conversation and decided YMCA couldn’t do any of the May period.

    5. Mostly was the YMCA running it, was done by the one coordinator. Staff from the YMCA helped here and there. Volunteers assisted. UIUC helped with getting access to the building.

      1. 2019 Housing and F&S each provided a truck to help load and haul stuff. F&S provided two workers to collect things and load them and sort them. More partnership that year.

      2. Piece in August is the sale itself. F&S provided supplies, tables, dumpsters, F&S and Housing put out advertisements about the sale to students. Used UIUC networks.

  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. Biggest lift was sorting and storing it. It could take a very long time. Stuck it in semis. Sifting out what is useful and what is not, was the hard part.

    2. If there is a way to get the stuff out in May and then repurpose it, that is most ideal. But this can be challenging.

    3. Michigan State established their own ReStore, and do this year around.

    4. Salt and Light, Habitat for Humanity, could be helpful with collection.

    5. If there way a way to sort and pull things for Y in August sale, is also possible.

  3. What are some best practices for event coordination?

    1. Breakdown of varying roles to pull this off.

    2. In general, need to coordinate volunteer and staff schedules for the workload.

    3. Have to set up a defined schedule for each dorm, how often you’ll be there. 24 lobbies they would have to collect from (couple times a day). If you fall behind, what’s the contingencies?

    4. Tuesday - Monday and Tuesday following Move-Out Saturday. Heavy time period, make sure you have volunteers.

    5. Takes a very detail-oriented person to manage this and schedule it out for attack.

  4. What are some best practices for volunteer coordination?

    1. Each volunteer is doing it for a different reason:

      1. Some love it, some they have to do community service, different levels of commitment, one person will not show up. Be aware of these motivations. Everyone’s physical capabilities, developmentally challenged (has to have certain tasks). Shift may never go the way you want it to. Be flexible at all times, have Plan B and Plan C at all time.

  5. What were some of your biggest obstacles with this event? Things to watch out for?

    1. It’s not all usable items. Despite all of your communication efforts, it will happen. Maybe 1/6 or 1/5 of things will be unusable.

  6. 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. F&S ideas so far:

      1. Faith in Place

      2. Champaign County Environmental Stewards

    2. YMCA’s suggestions

      1. Rotary Clubs often do volunteer work

      2. Chambana Moms (not really volunteer base, but they could advertise the need for volunteers)

      3. Will ask staff for more suggestions

  7. There was another YMCA member who helped with Dump and Run, Kasey Umland? Would she be good to reach out to? Would I be able to get her contact information?

    1. Director of Womens Resource Center.

    2. Was associate dir of the YMCA. Some years she supervised Dump and Run, some she ran it. Played a key role. Started in 2012.


Daphne will meet with Kasey Umland 1/24/23.