Jen White '90
Director of Sustainability & Innovation
ReChargers is a program held at Mercer Hall that allows students to donate unwanted goods at the end of the school year. These items range from fridges and microwaves to clothing and kitchenware. The sales divert over 2,000 pounds of waste from landfills every spring. Student-led tracking reveals that the month of May, especially, produces high amounts. “We have termed this phenomenon the 'May spike,'” explains Director of Sustainability Jennifer White '90. “Dumpsters [are filled] to the brim with reusable items, which this initiative hopes to recapture and resell.”
This sustainable effort, not gone unnoticed by the Boston Globe, is part of a nation-wide program called the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN). PLAN provides colleges guidelines for reducing student move-out waste, reusing functioning items, and recycling old materials.
In 2012, the Sustainability Core Club, a group of students dedicated to creating more environment-friendly practices on campus, introduced ReChargers. According to Environmental Science major Kenny Camacho '15, the program is one of Colby-Sawyer’s many initiatives toward its zero-waste goals and eliminating the throwaway culture that pervades the campus at the end of each academic year.
“ReChargers is a student-run, interdisciplinary approach to rethinking our waste, bringing in students from all majors to sustain the effort.”
“We need to stop treating what we don't personally want as trash. It is this selfish thinking that has created the waste problem here and around the world,” says Camacho. “[ReChargers] is a student-run, interdisciplinary approach to rethinking our waste, bringing in students from all majors to sustain the effort.”
Volunteers collect, clean, organize, and store items at the end of spring semester and resell them during fall move-in. Students can then buy microwaves, chairs, dorm decor, and more for a discounted price. Any remaining items are donated to local thrift stores and charities. These include the Thrift Clothes Closet in Franklin, N.H.; the Ascentria Care Alliance in Concord, N.H., which assists refugees resettling in this state; and Goodwill, the Concord, N.H. location.