by Mina Brewer
The spring semester is over, and campus is dead. You’ve packed up, moved out, and gone home for the summer. But the work’s not over…at least for the Tufts Recycles! team. If you’ve been on campus these past few weeks, you may have seen a small group of people lugging big clear trash bags from dorms into a big rental truck and moving around campus sitting in the back of it on top of the hundreds of mattress pads and amongst the plethora of strange items students leave behind. This was R2ePACK, and it was an adventure. Several brave souls and I worked with Dawn Quirk for two weeks cleaning out everything left behind in student housing. We went from Carpenter House to SoGo to Latin Way, Haskell, Russian House, and even out to the graduate houses you didn’t know existed all the way up on Fairmont street. For days and days we bagged up clothes, sheets, towels, mattress pads, lamps, hangers, fans, storage bins, crutches and trash cans from the freecycle boxes in the lobbies and lounges of these dorms and houses. While some were barely full, others looked like this, a deserted but very messy Wilson House:
We worked tirelessly, bagging up this stuff, loading it into a rental truck, then moving it from there into the gigantic goodwill trailer to be donated. Here’s what it looked like when it was empty…And when it was full, we literally couldn’t fit another bag inside.
Though it was weird to see how much stuff people throw away during move out, it was even weirder to see how much they just left inside their rooms. After senior week when everyone had moved out of the dorms, we started going inside, looking through suites in Hillsides, SoGo, and Latin Way to collect food, clothes, sheets, and anything goodwill could use. We found some suites that were spotless, but some looked like people hadn’t moved out at all. Sheets were on the beds, fridges were full, and bathrooms were stocked. We found some very weird rooms that were full of very interesting things, like the one below.We did the same thing here, bagging up items and moving them into the goodwill truck. It seemed like we would never be done!But finally, the last bag was in the trailer! We collected all the freecycle boxes from every dorm and house, and took all the unopened food to Project Soup in Somverville.All of the dorm supplies that were still in good condition, like lamps, mirrors, hangers, tables, storage boxes, shower caddies, vacuums, brooms, ironing boards, and kitchen and school supplies were separated and put into storage rooms to be given to incoming freshmen next year. A portion of these will be put in the freecycle areas in South, Haskell, Wren, and the newly renovated Tilton and Hodgdon halls. The rest will be given away at an event put on by the Tufts Green House (Latin Way 250s) during freshman orientation (look out for more updates about this early next semester!)
If this experience taught me anything, it’s that I really really didn’t need to buy as many hangers as I did. Or all those command hooks and cheap pillows. To incoming freshmen – remember that you’ll be able to take your pick of all these nice dorm supplies for free! And to everyone, remember to buy only what you need when coming back next semester.