In an effort to minimize wasted materials and maximize usage from leftover belongings at the end of each year, the Boston College Office of Residential Life created BC Clean in the spring of 2011-a year-end campus move-out program that both encourages students to take greater responsibility for packing up their possessions and donates unwanted or unneeded materials to charity.
“The program encourages students to be respectful and responsible in their packing up and moving out of their residential community at BC, educating our students to avoid cleaning charges, and take home all of their belongings,” said Chris Darcy, associate director of Residential Life and Campus Ministry.
The program also emphasizes giving back to local charities by means of donating substantial quantities of unused textbooks, clothing, or other usable materials.
“If students have items or belongings that they wish to donate such as text books, linens, clothes, non-perishable foods, household items, and furniture, we host three service agencies on campus throughout the move-out process to collect any and all items for donation,” Darcy said. At the beginning of summer closing, the organizers of BC Clean designate several residential lounges and common areas as donation centers for students. The program channels its donated items into three charitable organizations-More Than Words (MTW), The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and Household Goods Recycling of Massachusetts (HRGM).
In 2013, BC Clean helped collect more than 5,000 unused and donated books for More Than Words, a nonprofit that provides youth that are homeless, in foster care, court involved, or taken out of school with leadership development and employment skills. According to its website, the books collected for the MTW assist the organization to enable disadvantaged youth to participate in job training programs that last from six to 12 months.
At an average price of about $3 per book, BC Clean donated the equivalent of over $15,000 in support of MTW. In 2012, BC Clean had collected about 3,250-a nearly 2,000 book difference from the proceeding year.
Last year, BC Clean also collected approximately 13,140 lbs. of clothing; 2,100 lbs. of nonperishable, good-package food; 107 dorm room refrigerators; and 26 microwaves, among other items. Indicative of the program’s progress, in 2012 BC Clean had collected 1,760 lbs. of food, and in 2011, about 1,110 lbs. were collected.
Since the program’s inception three years ago, the Office of Residential Life has witnessed a significant decrease in damage to rooms and apartments, and residential buildings have generally been left in a cleaner, more livable state, Darcy said.
Students interested in becoming involved with BC Clean will have the opportunity to do so, and are welcomed by the Office of Residential Life to participate.
“We have had a small number of students involved in the past assisting us in setting up residential lounges for collections, and working with the agencies,” Darcy said.
As University move-out days approach, Darcy said he looks forward to accomplishing new goals for the program and reaching record donations for BC Clean’s three charities .
“We are excited to move into year four [of BC Clean], and one of our goals was to get the word out there now, so that the seniors can remember what it was like to donate to those in need, and to move out, leaving things a little better than they found them as part of their residential life experience,” Darcy said. “We believe passionately in our community benefitting and meeting the needs of others while making their move-out experience easier.”