As a current college student, I constantly hear my friends and classmates talk about how they feel like they can’t help any of the awesome nonprofits that come to campus because they’re too broke. And until recently, I completely fell into that camp.
But what I’ve discovered is that college students are cash poor but ‘stuff’ rich. Every year like clockwork, mountains of perfectly good clothes, furniture, and school supplies get thrown into dumpsters outside the dorms en masse as students frantically try and move out while in the middle of finals. So this year, I challenge you to look around and realize the potential that you have to help people simply by donating items in your dorm room!
Decorations: All the cool dorm stuff you bought (freshmen, I’m talking to you) before you got to campus, at which point you realized you weren’t allowed to nail anything into the walls and the room was a lot smaller than the one you saw on your tour? No need to toss it in the trash! Posters, lamps, and shelving can be used to brighten up a group home.
Appliances: Didn’t end up using that microwave as much as you thought? Your electric fan a little unnecessary since the dorm is air-conditioned? Any nonprofit with an office would probably love to upgrade their space.
School supplies: Maybe you got a new MacBook as a graduation present and your high school laptop is no longer needed, or you realized that your graphing calculator has been collecting dust since orientation. Your gently used laptops, calculators, books, unused binders, notebooks, and pens could mean the world to an after-school tutoring program.
Clothes: There’s strength in numbers, and there’s donation value as well. Get your floormates or housemates together and clean out your closets. Your homecoming tshirts can be put to good use at homeless shelters and transitional living programs.
So college students, you might not have vast financial resources, but you do have something to contribute! You can make a difference in the lives of nonprofit clients simply by cleaning out your dorm room.
Lauren Anderson is a project management intern at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Lauren on Google+ or Zealous Good on Facebook and Zealous Good on Twitter at @ZealousGood.