If you’re a 19-year-old who just finished with finals and loading up your Honda Civic to head back to Chicago for the summer, you have to make some tough decisions moving out of the dorm: to keep or throw away?
This logistical problem has caused an unintended problem during move-out each year: waste. Loads of usable items were heading to the dumpster during move-out, so a small steering committee formed to create what became ReFrog.
“I was initially inspired to start a move-out initiative after seeing the immense wastefulness during move-out last year as a freshman,” said Madeline Bowers, a marketing and management student in the Neeley School of Business who served as the donation organization chair on the Move-Out Sustainability Committee, supported by the Student Government Association. “The amount of people dumpster diving for perfectly good items made very clear the need to provide a location to discard re-usable items other than the dumpster.”
The TCU Staff Assembly Community Service Committee joined in the effort and solicited staff volunteers to join students, parents and others in the effort. DFW Capsule donated the use of two containers, and organizers say that the facilities and housing teams were also crucial to the effort.
“We could not have done this without Erik Trevino (director of landscape and grounds) and the facilities team,” said Wendy Macias, associate dean of undergraduate studies in the Schieffer College of Communication, who helped spearhead the project from the faculty standpoint. Strategic communication students helped develop signage and branding for the all-volunteer event.
Also instrumental was Courtney Hendrix, who works in the Neeley Academic Advising Center.
“We thought it was important to bring together all aspects of campus for this effort, much like move-in. We had parents, alumni, current students, faculty and staff who helped,” she said. “Move-out can be stressful with finals wrapping up and graduation around the corner. It is a nice final touch point before they head home for the summer.”
Horned Frogs who volunteered their time were able to see what items might be useful to them. Then, TCU’s TRIO pulled business attire items to help students when needed. For the rest of the items, planners chose two organizations to be the recipients: Inspired Vision Compassion Center (IVCC) and the Welman Project.
IVCC hosts a cost-free grocery store, seasonal pop-up shops, wide-ranging social events, classes and more. The Welman Project provides materials to teachers for creative reuse in the classroom.
Early estimates received by the Welman Project alone were about 700 cubic feet or four full-sized dumpsters. This not only saved items from the landfill but will supply an estimated 1,800 Fort Worth schoolchildren with classroom items, plus numerous more items for community members who benefit from IVCC.
“Most items were clothes, bedding, mirrors and headboards,” said Hendrix. “There were also lots of costumes, which are always fun.”
The most unique? A blowup Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, she said.