Partnership aims to reduce end-of-semester trash

Partnership aims to reduce end-of-semester trash

05/02/2023 

As SUNY Cortland students complete final exams and begin to pack up to leave Cortland, many of them realize an alternative meaning for an old cliche: You can’t take it with you.

 At least not all of it.

 Rather than overfill campus dumpsters with still-useful items they no longer need or want, students are being encouraged to donate nonperishable food and belongings that aren’t traveling home with them.

 The university is partnering with Cortland ReUse to collect unwanted bedding, school supplies, dishes, utensils, sports equipment, electronics, small furniture and anything else that might find a second life in another person’s hands.

 “Generally, waste accumulated during move-out has been a challenge for all college campuses,” Matthew Brubaker, campus energy manager and chair of the university’s Sustainability Coalition. “Several years ago, SUNY Cortland began encouraging students to donate and recycle any useable items. We are excited about our community partnership this year with Cortland ReUse in hopes that even more items can be donated and reused than in the past.”

Collection boxes will be available in all residence May 5-19. There will be one container for donated food items and another for anything else that might still be useable.

Nonperishable food items will be donated to the SUNY Cortland Cupboard, the campus food pantry that assists students facing hunger insecurity.

The other donated items will be picked up by Cortland ReUse and taken to the nonprofit organization’s warehouse. They eventually will be made available to shoppers at its community-run retail store, providing an affordable option for gently used items.

“While this effort will save SUNY Cortland some funds because there will be less trash to haul, it also benefits Cortland County as it is reducing the amount of material brought to the local landfill,” said Beth Klein, campus sustainability coordinator and a professor in the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department. “Landfill space is finite, and to expand or build a new landfill will cost the entire community.”

Students who live off campus can take reusable items directly to Cortland ReUse at 245 McLean Road in Cortland.  They are open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cortland ReUse is closed Mondays.

A big goal of the effort is to raise awareness among students, said Justin Neretich, associate director of residence life and housing for operations.

“As a part of supporting our students' development as members of the larger Cortland community, educational efforts are underway to spread the word about the impact we leave behind after heading home for the end of the academic year,” Neretich said. “We look forward to strengthening our educational outreach efforts, and getting students to think about what they can do to be more sustainable just by simply placing items somewhere other than the dumpster.”

As an example of that student engagement, Klein shared that students in a course taught by Caroline Kaltefleiter, a professor in the Communications and Media Studies Department, have developed campaigns to get the word out about “Donate, Don’t Ditch” and “Food Rescue.”   The students are also working to match community member needs with available donated items.   


More News

Residence hall donations get a second life

Residence hall donations get a second life

SUNY Cortland partnered with Cortland ReUse to collect departing students’ unwanted items. 


Cortland's Nick Marola Receives SUNYAC Award of Valor

Cortland's Nick Marola Receives SUNYAC Award of Valor

The Red Dragon’s starting shortstop did his part to help save a life.


Twelve students conducting sponsored research this summer

Twelve students conducting sponsored research this summer

This cohort's studies range from biology and chemistry to political science and fine art.


Juneteenth festival planned for downtown Cortland

Juneteenth festival planned for downtown Cortland

Fourth Cortland event on June 15 celebrates the enforced end of slavery on June 19, 1865.


Distinguished and Rising Star alumni honored

Distinguished and Rising Star alumni honored

Reunion 2024 will recognize a new crop of outstanding alumni.


Alumni awards to honor educators, volunteers

Alumni awards to honor educators, volunteers

The SUNY Cortland Alumni Association will present the awards at this year’s Reunion.


CICC chooses “Air” as 2024-25 academic theme

CICC chooses “Air” as 2024-25 academic theme

Organizers seek ideas from the campus community for the coming year’s lectures and activities.


Tribute to a groundbreaking educator

Tribute to a groundbreaking educator

Marjorie Dey Carter '50 quietly blazed a trail in American urban education.


Women’s lacrosse earns SUNYAC championship title 

Women’s lacrosse earns SUNYAC championship title 

The Red Dragons, under third-year head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne, made their 26th NCAA tournament appearance.


SUNY Cortland is new host for New York State Envirothon  

SUNY Cortland is new host for New York State Envirothon  

The annual science contest will bring hundreds of high-achieving high schoolers from around the state to campus.