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U launches new Pack and Give Back program

A free store aims to reduce trash left on curbs during move-in and move-out.

Heaps of trash and piles of used furniture line the front lawns of students’ houses during move-in and move-out weeks.

“Chairs, clothes, silverware, dishes — everything is just thrown in the heap,” Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association board member Ardes Johnson said.

At the end of fall semester, Johnson said one resident even burned an unwanted futon in the street.

The University of Minnesota’s ReUse Program is launching a new initiative to deal with the moving mess. Pack and Give Back will allow students and residents of the Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods to donate their unwanted, reusable items to a free store.

The program aims to encourage sustainability, said Stacey White, ReUse Program supervisor.

“We’re hoping to divert trash that is reusable from the landfill and back into the hands of the community,” White said.

The Pack and Give Back store will be open throughout May at the ReUse Program warehouse in Southeast Como. It will reopen in late August and early September, when White hopes to add more neighborhoods to the program, she said.

ReUse will also pick up unwanted items from campus residence halls near the end of the semester.

Neighborhood residents will have to bring their items to the warehouse.

For those who can’t, the Salvation Army will pick up unwanted items in the neighborhoods and bring them to their thrift stores in other parts of the city.

The new initiative is similar to Move-in/Move-out, a free store in Como from spring 2010 to fall 2011 that closed due to lack of funding.

Minneapolis City Councilwoman Diane Hofstede said she’s received several complaints of trash piles during moving seasons. Hofstede represents Minneapolis’ 3rd Ward, which includes Marcy-Holmes.

To address complaints, Hofstede said she is meeting with the University, residents, Hennepin County and the city next week to work on her own Move In/Move Out Day initiative.

MHNA member Johnson said she’s concerned about the viability of Pack and Give Back because no students or landlords came to community meetings she attended addressing trash issues.

“I’m not sure who is totally responsible for the heaps of trash,” Johnson said.

Students are the ones leaving the trash, she said, but their landlords give them very little time to move out. The students are busy in May with final exams, and landlords aren’t always around, she said.

Southeast Como resident Alli Grimm said she’s seen piles of trash left by students during moving seasons.

Grimm, a kinesiology sophomore, said she and her roommates haven’t yet thought about what they’re doing with their stuff when moving day comes.

“It depends on what my roommates have,” Grimm said. “Maybe if we have extra stuff,” she said, “I’d leave it in the yard.”

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