Each year as sixth form students graduate and underformers head home, they discover unwanted items in their lockers and dorm rooms, such as an outgrown blazer or a textbook that’s too heavy for the flight home. These items most often are in good shape and could easily be re-used. Yet, it’s often unclear who could use an extraneous book or unneeded bedding and these items end up in landfills. However, through the work of the Green Initiative, Hill’s student environmental organization, and the Director of Sustainability Marie Fechik-Kirk, Hill students had another viable option: donating these items to local charities.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts, 48 students and 11 Hill faculty and staff members and parents spent more than 200 hours collecting, sorting, and packing 4,750 pounds of clothing, books, and room accessories that were donated to The Pottstown Cluster, the Montgomery County SPCA, and Goodwill Industries. View a PDF that lists the total of number of items donated and the organizations that received them
Yujin Koh ’13 created signage for the collection bins and boxes, a group of community service students labeled the bins, and The Green Initiative delivered boxes to the dorms, library, and Student Center to make it easier for students to donate unwanted items. Eco-captains, dorm parents, and student deans’ encouraged all students to donate unneeded items during the last few weeks of school.
“It's a great way to end the year, with such a successful event,” noted co-head of the Green Initiative Emma Woodcock ’12. “By diverting more than 2.5 tons of reusable clothes, books, school supplies, and furniture, we are helping the community and the environment.” For instance, imagine saving just one cotton t-shirt from the landfill. According to the Water Footprint Network, it takes about 660 gallons of water to create a t-shirt, in addition to the energy to manufacture it and the fertilizers and pesticides to grow the cotton.
Sabrina Kennedy ’15 volunteered to help collect, sort, and pack donations as she also felt the need to help save valuable resources. Many students echoed this desire to help their community and reduce waste. Director of Sustainability Marie Fechik-Kirk noted that “the collection was really a community event. Students were not only generous with their donations, but also with their time.”
Victoria Bumstead, Volunteer/Dry Goods Coordinator for The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities was grateful for the uniform clothing, bedding, school supplies, food, and toiletries. The Cluster helps meet the needs of the Pottstown community by helping individuals become more self-sufficient and productive. Ms. Bumstead affirmed that, “The Cluster relies on donations and often the things we take for granted are the items most needed.”
In addition, room accessories, sports equipment, books and casual clothing were donated to Goodwill Keystone Area. Lori Zelesko, director of special events, appreciated the donations. She noted that 90 percent of the revenue generated through retail store sales is used to fund employment and training programs for people with disabilities and who are at an economic disadvantage. Finally, the towels collected benefited the Montgomery County SPCA, a non-profit organization dedicated to caring for unwanted, lost, and abused domestic animals.