Each year the University of Virginia’s Office of Sustainability holds what they call Chuck It For Charity. The event gives students the opportunity to donate unwanted goods they might otherwise throw away, which are collected and sorted. Partnered local charities are then given the opportunity to come by and select whatever goods from the collection that they want, for free.
This year, students donated around 21,000 pounds of goods, which is down from last year’s 23,556 pounds, but is actually an increase in the amount of goods donated. The difference comes because another campus event, the IT department’s e-cycling drive, didn’t fall during Chuck It, but was held during Earth Week. That means there were less personal electronics donated by students this year, which can impact the overall weight of the items. Had the two events coincided again, chances are there would have been a donation increase across all measurements.
Still, fiddly math aside, that’s quite a lot of donations, which goes to show that college students are more than willing to donate, when they think they can afford to or have something worth giving away. Other universities, as well as primary and secondary schools, could stand to learn from the University of Virginia’s model. Donation drives like this can appeal to people who want to help, but don’t have a lot to give. Donating clothes you no longer wear or dishes you don’t need is more manageable than donating money when you’re living week to week on paychecks or scholarships or money from home. And getting rid of the clutter can certainly feel refreshing, giving donors an additional sense of well-being: they’re helping themselves and others at the same time.
In addition, drives like this can bring out the charitable nature in all kinds of people, helping them to realize how much good they can do in the world regardless of their own position.