Students and staff completed the first leg of this year’s Cram and Scram efforts on May 29, culminating in the storage or donation of thousands of items that would have otherwise found themselves discarded.
The annual Cram and Scram began in 2008 as a means to cut down on difficult-to-dispose-of waste and recycle reusable goods from year to year, a goal that it achieves, as the program accounts for an estimated 28 percent landfill waste reduction campus-wide every year, or as much as 90 tons.
Through the program, items left in residential buildings over the summer are collected for immediate donation or eventual sale upon the start of the fall semester. This year’s C&S, however, is different in two key ways. First, Physical Plant’s cooperation with the C&S student workforce has been comprehensive, helping to coordinate efficient residence hall clean-out schedules and methods so as to aid the Custodial and Grounds shops with their summer cleaning loads. Second, Community Outreach and Opportunity Project (COOP) Director of Outreach and Orientation Amy James has been involved with the spring collection process to organize and prepare for the donation efforts associated with Cram and Scram.
Donations are a side of the Cram and Scram event that many students might not be aware of, with many items taken by the student workforce ending up in various not-for-profits throughout Upstate NY. Blankets, pillows, and clothes find their way to the Rescue Mission of Utica, a faith-based charitable organization that provides numerous services including shelter, jobs training, meals, transitional housing, and more to Uticans in need. Blankets and pillows that are deemed unserviceable for the Rescue Mission are sent to Humane Society of Rome, NY, a local animal shelter.
The Rescue Mission also donates surplus goods to households throughout the Utica community, in many cases to the homes of refugees and at-risk families. Kitchenware/appliances, toiletries, over the counter medications, and similar household items are donated to Emmaus House, a local organization that provides shelter to women and children who have been the victims of domestic abuse. Finally, non-perishable foods are given to the Country Pantry, a food pantry associated with the Food Bank of Central New York.
The remaining items deemed fit for recycling are stored over the summer and will be available for purchase to students at the beginning of the Fall 2015-Spring 2016 academic year. Items are usually sold at a substantial discount from MSRP, with each item’s price being capped at $50, but most falling far below that.
The Cram and Scram collection process was in large part handled by a team of students under the direction of student leaders Ramon Villalona ’16 and Erin Bernard ’16. Other student workers include John Gonzalez ’17, Victoria Negron ’17, Gregory Elliott ’17, Leonard Kilekwang ’16, Jose Machado ’17, Ayodele (Ayo) Adjibaba ’17, Eric Nieminen ’16, Angel Pichardo ’17 and Victor Oyadiji ’16.