Albany – This week, Assemblywoman Millman added clarifying language to a bill she introduced last session. The SUNY/CUNY Cares Act, A.9284-a, allows SUNY/CUNY administrations to develop and implement programs that would distribute consumer goods left behind by students to local not-for-profits.
Currently, the institutions’ staff are responsible for disposing of the items left behind, many of which ultimately end up at the local landfill. If enacted, A.9284-A would benefit community not-for-profits and reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill.
Several college campuses have experienced positive results from similar programs. At Penn State University, a campus-wide charity event selling students’ unwanted items eliminated the university’s cost of disposing the abandoned goods, thus preventing approximately 357 tons of solid waste from becoming landfill. The event also generated $49,870 for 39 human services agencies and approximately four tons of food were donated to community food banks. In addition, at Colorado University at Boulder, collected goods were given to Habitat for Humanity for a charity event that raised money for local housing projects.
“A huge opportunity exists for our academic institutions to participate in reducing waste while supporting local not-for-profits,” stated Millman. “With 87 schools in the SUNY and CUNY systems, the impact would be significant. This would provide a new resource for not-for-profit organizations for new or gently-used consumer goods or the funds to supplement area programs.”