This June, the College will no longer coordinate the annual Dump and Run sale. Instead, a group of non-profit organizations are taking control of the event, now known as Give and Go.
Since 2002, the Dump and Run sale has allowed students to recycle items that they can't fit to bring home or don't want anymore. Students discard their belongings at drop-off sites around the dorms and these objects are sorted and resold in the Dayton Ice Arena.
Coordinator for Sustainable Bowdoin Keisha Payson said that the College will still help and provide access to certain facilities, but that it can't maintain the program on its own. Consequently, the nonprofit organizations in charge will have to cover rental fees, liability insurance, and other costs.
"It's a lot of work to organize and there's really only one person who works in Sustainable Bowdoin. I'll still participate, maybe eight hours a week to plan and then on the days of the sales, as well," said Payson.
Bowdoin requested that local nonprofits submit proposals to make a commitment to take over the program. Two groups submitted proposals: Sweetser, a mental health treatment and support organization, and another group composed of members of various nonprofits who decided to pool their resources and efforts.
The College chose the committee representing several local nonprofits, including A Paw in the Door (a Bath-based organization that provides free spaying and neutering for pets owned by low-income families), the Eagles Wrestling Club, Daughters of Isabella (a Catholic women's organization), and the American Legion Post 171.
"A committee like this is good because everyone has their strengths. Everyone is able to bring something to the table," said Joanne Adams from A Paw in the Door.
Participants said that Give and Go is advantageous because, as opposed to each group having small yard sales or events, the event allows many nonprofits to earn money for their organization without investment. When the profits are split, each group can receive compensation for up to 100 hours, which is crucial to those without government funding.
The committee said it would prefer Bowdoin continue running the event, but appreciated that Bowdoin would then hold the ultimate responsibility of staff, insurance, and coordination.
"I see that [Payson's] job is recycling and the end of the school year seems like a major time for her. To be really focused on this project took away from her job, but her enthusiasm in getting it started has set it up to be a win-win situation for both the school and the community," said Linda Blanton of the committee.
Before Dump and Run, students threw all their belongings into dumpsters outside their dorms or apartment buildings. Other students and members of the community would dive into the dumpsters and rummage for goods, while the remains went to the landfill. Mike Taylor, representing the Eagles Wrestling Club, said he used to watch dozens of people a day stop by the dumpsters while he worked on campus.
Payson originally got the idea from other colleges, including Bates College, whose Dump and Run was student-run until two years ago.
"I saw lots of good things going into the dumpsters...The community would come and try to pick things out, so this seemed like a more logical way to capture all that stuff, hold a big yard sale, and let the nonprofits benefit," said Payson.
Bates Environmental Coordinator Julie Rosenbach said Bates's event is still financially run by that college, but that she likes Bowdoin's idea to transfer the responsibility to the nonprofits.
In 2006, 35 nonprofit organizations participated, contributing 2,322 volunteer hours and raising $35,310 in profits. Revenue has risen each year, as only $12,000 was raised in 2002.
For previous Dump and Runs, Payson said that the College played a fundamental role in collecting, sorting, and arranging the objects to "essentially create a mini department store."
Adams and others commented on the extensive collection of usable items they find each year. By sifting through the heaps, volunteers find dishes and utensils taken from the dining hall, IT Ethernet and TV cables, and jerseys and sports gear from athletics. All food items and toiletries are donated to the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Center in Brunswick, and left over clothing and items are donated to other nonprofits.
The College will still cover some expenses, including those for Facilities to clean and set up the hockey rink, but will seek reimbursement from the profits.
But the committee will have to pay other costs for the event: Dayton Arena will be rented for a month and a half; there is liability insurance to buy, and other administrative expenses and duties to cover.
However, the committee, composed of Dump and Run veterans, said the process should not change much this year.
Collection boxes will start circulating the dorms in mid-May, and collection begins May 19. The sale will be advertised in local papers and the town, open for Bowdoin students on Friday, June 8, and then for the campus and Brunswick community on Saturday, June 9.
"I think pretty much everybody has thought it's amazing, that it's great to do this to prevent throwing items in the landfill, and the nonprofits raise money through their labor. Really, it's thanks to the generosity of the Bowdoin students," said Payson.
Although the committee will certainly miss Bowdoin's coordination of the project, the members are eager to carry on this year.
"I really believe in the recycling, I think it's so wonderful that these things aren't going into the dumpsters or landfills," said Blanton. "It is fun...and we're going to have a good time."