Hamilton’s Cram & Scram (C&S) program celebrated its 10th year of existence this year, and by all accounts was another monumental success. Cram & Scram began formally in 2008, after President Stewart’s decision to commit Hamilton to a path toward climate neutrality.
C&S was originally envisioned to be a solid waste diversion strategy to help achieve that end. From meager beginnings, when student belongings were collected in two rooms in the former ELS building and sold out of a tent in North Lot, C&S has grown to be much more.
Physical Plant has always taken the leadership role in facilitating the program (originally through Terry Hawkridge, and currently Jenn Piren and Tim Gadziala), and a small army of motivated and enthusiastic students do the physical work. Kai Scarangella ’20 and Clair Curran ’20 are the 2017 lead “Scrammers,” and are also involved in HEAG and the Hamilton Sustainability Coordinators.
Other students who participated this year include Olivia Sheehan, Jack Wright, Drew Castronovo, Amarilys Milian, Chloe Keating, Caitlin Anthony, Raven Haub, Elias Griffin, Annie McClanahan and Anjanae Williams.
Many of the collected items not suitable for resale have long been donated to charitable organizations; clothing goes to the Salvation Army, bedding to local animal shelters and non-perishable food items to the Clarks Mills food pantry.
In 2015, Director of Community Outreach Amy James became more heavily involved in the program and helped expand the charitable organization list, such that many more items now find their way to worthy causes.
Sustainability programs typically have various environmental, social and economic components. In diverting solid waste from the local landfill, providing goods to charitable organizations in need, and saving students and their families money, Hamilton’s C&S program is a sustainability success story, and will continue to thrive in the future.