November 27, 2007

Dump & Run Raises $30K

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Once again proving that one student’s trash is another one’s treasure, Cornell’s Dump & Run sale in August raised more than $30,000 from about 7,500 shoppers, $27,000 of which was donated to four local non-profit organizations: Cops, Kids, and Toys; Better Housing for Tompkins County, Inc., the Dream Factory and the Drop-In Children’s Center. The amount allocated to each organization varied with the number of volunteer hours it contributed to the sale.
The Dump and Run program recycles unwanted things left behind by students in May by selling them to students arriving in August. Volunteers from the non-profit organizations and student volunteers work to collect everything, but that’s only the beginning of a long process.
“We [then] have sorting that gets done at the warehouse all summer long,” said Cindy Lockwood, the facilities supervisor in charge of the sale. “The last three years, Andrea Dutcher, [director of recreational services] at the Helen Newman Gym facilities, has let us use Helen Newman, which is an extraordinary piece for us because we can now start setting up on Wednesday. We can get into that space and start organizing. We can run it much more like a department store and like a real sale.”
At the actual sale, volunteers from the four organizations, along with about 100 students from Orientation, assist with cashiering, organizing and keeping the sale areas tidy. From start to finish this year, the sale involved about 220 volunteers, for a total of 1,828 volunteer hours, according to Julie Glanville, campus life marketing manager.
The Student Life Advisory Committee chooses the organizations that receive money each year, and they rotate every three years.
“We’ll do research through the United Way about organizations within the area that might be interested. The information about each of the organizations comes to our group and we’ll look at it and we’ll see what kind of group it is. We look for that balance of service and goods to the community,” said Nicole Mangiere ’08, co-chair of the committee. “This year, we looked at about 12 organizations that were interested and that could use the money from the sale and contribute to helping organize and volunteer at the sale.”
One organization, however, Cops, Kids and Toys, which buys presents for children whose parents cannot afford them, has been involved each year since 2004 because “they have really been a strong participant and partner,” Lockwood said. “They really rally around and get a lot of people to help,” as shown by their contribution of 61 percent of the volunteer hours from about 50 volunteers.
“The Dump and Run sale has been the biggest contributor to Cops, Kids and Toys,” said Cornell Police Officer Ray Price, a board member of the organization.
Since its inception at Cornell in 2003 by Lauren Jacobs ’05, the Dump and Run sale has raised more each year, starting from $9,000 the first year to $32,000 last year, except this year. As for reasons behind the slight drop this year, Lockwood speculated that “people are just getting in the mindset of buying less, so we actually had fewer things that we collected and sold. Maybe we’re getting to the ‘reduce’ part of the program.”
“What we’ll do next year is take a look at the specific resources that were sent out to first-year students and see if there’s a better way to advertise. Maybe we could use Facebook, if that’s becoming the social networking tool that students are paying attention to; it might be a good advertising outlet for us, and getting more students involved in the process of planning Dump and Run,” Mangiere said. Mangiere and the committee are also seeking more student volunteers.
“Traditionally, it’s been a student-led program, but this year, we didn’t have a student program coordinator. As they graduate, we’ve had difficulty finding that key student who will run it from year to year or pass it along, though we did have a summer intern. We’re actively looking for students to take this program on. If people are interested, they can certainly contact Facilities,” Lockwood said.