Students looking to get rid of furniture during move out don’t need to look any further than the Harper, Schramm and Smith residence halls.
Throughout finals week, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln sustainability group will be hosting a furniture drive to collect donations.
The Environmental Leadership Program through the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska will organize volunteers to load furniture onto trucks in the HSS green space on Wednesday, May 1, through Friday, May 3 from noon to 8 p.m. ELP and the volunteers will unload the furniture at Bridges to Hope, a Lincoln nonprofit that helps those recently incarcerated transition back to a normal life.
Specifically, ELP is looking for large furniture items in good condition like chairs, couches or futons.
Kat Woerner, a freshman economics, environmental studies and natural resource economics triple major, is co-leading the project. She said she was inspired to organize the event after hearing all the furniture from Cather-Pound Residence Hall went to the landfill when the building was demolished in 2017.
“It made me upset that all of this perfectly useable furniture was being sent to the landfill when its life could be extended,” she said in an email. “I took that energy and used it to fuel an idea I could do something about.”
Woerner and other ELP members have been working with the Office of Sustainability and Keith Zaborowski, the associate director of Residence Life, to organize the event. With help from UNL Sustainability Coordinator Prabhakar Shrestha, the team chose Bridges to Hope as the donation destination.
Co-lead Ben Wingerter, a freshman computer science major, said those formerly incarcerated are an underrepresented population and supporting them helps to make the Lincoln community stronger.
“We are ultimately products of the communities that we grow up and live in,” he said in an email. “It is the responsibility of every person to work to improve the quality of their community and the lives of those around them, not just because it is right, but because it improves one's own life as well.”
Additionally, Woerner said the furniture drive has several environmental benefits.
“Land is a scarce resource,” she said. “If we send everything to the landfill, that reduces the amount we can use that land for something else, such as agriculture or natural ecosystems. Also, by reusing the furniture, it means fewer materials have to be used to create the needed product, which means fewer greenhouse gases have to be produced, which lowers the university's carbon footprint.”