SRU grad student repurposes unwanted dorm supplies through new program
Tabitha Giacalone, a graduate assistant on Slippery Rock University’s Residence Life staff, collects unwanted room supplies during move-out week that will be offered next semester to incoming students through a new grant-funded program.
May 9, 2019
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Students who are moving out of residence halls at Slippery Rock University have a lot of "stuff" from their rooms that they will no longer use or don't want or need to transport home. Everything from rugs and lamps to cleaning and school supplies make their way into University dumpsters.
"You name it, we've pretty much seen it wind up in the trash at the end of a semester," said Dallas Cott, assistant director of campus services. "This is the week where we see the biggest increase in random trash. Typically we're looking at four to five times more trash during finals week than a regular week."
That increase adds up to around 15 tons of garbage.
To help reduce the amount of trash and repurpose items that still have life left in them, the University has launched a new program, Rock Pride Reusable On-Campus Room Supply, that will store donated items during the summer and offer the supplies for free to returning students for the fall semester.
Tabitha Giacalone, a graduate student majoring in student affairs in higher education from Frederick, Maryland, was awarded a $7,000 grant from the Green Fund to operate RORS. The Green Fund was established in 2008 to support environmental initiatives.
Giacalone, the graduate resident director in the Building A residence hall, wrote the grant after noticing what Cott and the Facilities Department see every year.
"I consider myself a steward of the environment and do what I can to promote sustainability and I just wanting to do something to better our planet," said Giacalone, who earned her bachelor's degree from SRU in 2018 in environmental studies and sustainability. "During my five years here I've seen so much trash being thrown out during move-out week and a lot of it is perfectly good items that are just going into a landfill and creating carbon emissions."
The Facilities Department provides six roll-off dumpsters near residence halls for move-out week so students can dispose of their trash. However, through the RORS program, Giacalone is encouraging students to donate unwanted, usable room supplies to the following collection sites through May 11:
• Building A, Room 103.
• ROCK Apartments, mailroom.
• Rhoads Hall, recreation room.
• Building F, collection boxes in the lobby.
• Building D, first-floor multipurpose room.
Further instructions, such as what can and cannot be donated, are available at the donation sites.
"We'll take anything used in a dorm room, like storage bins, decorations, curtains, rugs and lamps, even certain appliances like vacuums and coffee makers," Giacalone said. "The only things we are not taking are electronics, such as computers, printers and televisions, because they are hard to dispose if no one else claims them."
The donated items will be stored on campus during the summer and made available to students moving back to campus in the fall during SRU's Week of Welcome. Giacalone will coordinate "pop-up shops" in and around the Smith Student Center during WOW so that students can obtain the supplies for free on a first-come, first-served basis.
"It's an opportunity for residential students to get things that they forgot or maybe couldn't afford," Giacalone said. "This program is a great way to reduce waste and benefit the students."
More details about RORS will be communicated to students leading up to WOW, or email Giacalone at email@example.com for more information.
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