Have you ever moved out of your dorm room thinking “how am I going to take all this stuff home? I wish I could do something better than just throwing it into a dumpster!” Now, thanks to a new project funded by the Committee on Sustainability (COS), you don’t have to wish anymore.
Even as you read this, five dedicated students are working tirelessly to implement a new program to reduce move-out waste at William and Mary: DormMania. Indoor and outdoor collection locations across campus will accept donations of usable items that would otherwise be thrown out by departing undergrads. Everything donated will be sorted, cleaned, and stored over the summer, and then sold cheaply at a large yard sale during fall move-in.
DormMania was born after Audrey Kriva ’17 attended a lecture put on by the non-profit Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN) last year. Recent University of New Hampshire graduates formed PLAN in 2013 after creating a hugely successful waste reduction program on their campus. Now they help other schools launch similar programs.
PLAN’s idea that “waste is just a logistics problem” intrigued Kriva immediately. She realized that a university, due to sheer scale and organization, has the potential to operate with a unique efficiency, given a little bit of logistical help. So, late one Wednesday night, after gathering her thoughts, Kriva went to the Student Environmental Action Coalition’s (SEAC) Recycling Campaign meeting to ask other students involved in waste management about the feasibility of her idea. The members of the campaign contemplated several potential roadblocks, ultimately concluding that a project like the one marinating in Kriva’s head would be unlikely to succeed.
Nevertheless, the facilitator of the Recycling Campaign, Eric Dale ’14, offered to sit down with Kriva to discuss further. Drawing on years of accumulated institutional knowledge about sustainability as well as connections with much of the College’s administration, Dale directed Kriva to the key players she would need to have on board with her idea. Admitting that he didn’t have time to work on the project, Dale sent Kriva on her way, list of names and ideas in hand.
Thirty-four meetings with administrators, committees, students, and other groups later, Kriva knew what would be needed to make her dream a reality. She created a comprehensive plan for the implementation of the project, slowly getting permission from various decision-makers. She also began recruiting her team—starting with Dale. The gleam of determination in Kriva’s eyes and the impressive legwork she had done in a just a few months convinced Dale to sign on. He was followed by Rukmini Bhugra ’17, Jahan Cooper ’15, and Madeleine Boel ’17.
The team of five began holding energetic planning meetings every week. They named the project DormMania, and applied for a COS GreenFees grant to fund it. On April 3rd, DormMania was funded for $5000, and Kriva’s team shifted into high gear. Donning their light blue t-shirts, they talked to club after club, recruiting volunteers and donors alike. Incredibly helpful and generous individuals on campus, including Sandra Prior (Environmental Health and Safety), Bob Avalle (Facilities Management), Chris Durden (Residence Life), Drew Stelljes (Office of Community Engagement), Patrick Foley (College Sustainability Fellow), Lauren Garrett (Office of the First Year Experience), Bill Horatio (Parking and Transportation Services), John Byxbe (Auxiliary Services), Kristen Fagan (Risk Management), and many others lent their support, advice, and resources to transform the project into reality.
You may have already noticed an enormous cardboard box in the lobby or lounge of your dorm, and beginning May 1, you will probably see DormMania collection tents set up outside dorms across campus. Feel free to donate anything you might use in a dorm—everything from furniture and appliances to decorations and books—at any of these locations. They’ll even take non-perishable food items and half-used cleaning supplies! Keep an eye out for volunteers wearing light blue DormMania shirts, and if you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Help the environment by helping this project succeed! Find better ways to dispose of your stuff, and remember to buy anything you need next year at the huge DormMania yard sale in the Fall. Pass it on!
Find DormMania on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/DormMania