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Students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh diverted 5,365 pounds of waste May 12-13 while moving out of the residence halls, including 860 pounds of food that was donated to the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry and 1,020 pounds of metal that was recycled.

Headshot of Erin Siedler“The goal is to divert as much as possible away from the landfill, and this year many of the donated items went to a super special cause,” said Erin Seidler, senior psychology major and Residence Life sustainability community development specialist, of Birnamwood.

Furniture was donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, St. Vincent de Paul thrift store and Nutritious Response, a not-for-profit focusing on food insecurities.

Donation boxes were placed in residence halls Friday, May 6 through Wednesday, May 18.

“We set-up donation stations in the lobbies of every hall,” Seidler said. “With the help of central staff within the Department of Residence Life, we were able to inform students within the Residence Halls about the program and what it meant.”

For Seidler, the sustainability efforts she helped coordinate during Move Out highlighted the impact of her actions and those of other students.

A male and female student carry a futon on the UWO campus“Recycling and donating is something that students should be aware of for the rest of their lives. There are so many people who are in need and there are so many consequences to the environment if we do not recycle and reuse—I think it’s really important for students to be aware of that,” Seidler said.

Seidler helped raise awareness for the sustainability efforts during Move Out.

“Everyone can be wasteful, so I think awareness of another way to do things, like donating and recycling, is a life skill that students can take away from college,” Seidler said. “I really think that is the true value of a program like Goodwill Not Landfill. We are able to give students life skills that not only make a difference in the now, but also make a difference in the future.”