Month: May 2017


Community Service Program of the Month
Loyd Closing Donation Drive

School: Southern Methodist University Region: SWACURH
Person in charge: Michael Prappas Nominator: Ty Krueger

Target Population: 239 Time Needed to Organize: 2 months
Number of People in Attendance: 239 Date(s) of Program: May 1-May 17, 2017
Number of People Needed to Organize: 2 Cost of Program: $50
On-Campus Population: 3400 Chapter Size: 28

Origin of Program:

Loyd Commons has been doing a donation drive since it opened three years ago. This year, the RA Michael Prappas wanted to improve the efficiency of the event as it had been a bit messy in the previous two years. Michael worked with the new Faculty in Residence who has a passion for sustainability and recycling to organize the donation drive. The idea originated from the community strategic planning objective to have more service events that are easily accessible to members of the commons. A focus on service is important to the community as the community motto is "Inspiring Community through Service."

Word Count: 102

Please give a short description of the program:

In order to have the donations be more organized this year, Michael wanted to get large, reusable plastic storage bins for students to place their donated items. In previous years, there were general donation boxes set out, but those filled up too fast and it took much longer to sort through the donations. Thus in early March, Michael submitted a funding proposal to the campus housing funding board to purchase the bins for the service event. It was done early in order to allow time for the approval as well as purchasing and shipment of the bins.

In April, Michael created the messaging that all of the RAs would share with residents during the Closing Information Floor Meetings. Michael also began posting flyers to help ensure that residents knew all of the items that they could donate. Michael had worked with the Faculty in Residence to be able to use the community office to store the items as the donation bins got full.

On May 1, Michael set the donation bins out in a nice display for residents to see. There were bins for hangers, men's clothing, women's clothing, linens (bed sheets, towels, comforters, etc.), shoes, decorating materials (push pins, nails, etc.), and small electronics. Two more bins were added at the request of residents for nonperishable food and school supplies. Signs were posted that said "Donation Station" with a quick instruction sheet and who to contact with questions. Michael had worked out with the RA staff to help monitor the donation station. During their closing checkout shifts, the RAs would help bag up items as the bins got full and take the bags to the FIR office. In previous years, residents had thrown in random trash to the donation boxes, but thankfully this was not a problem this year. Only reusable items were placed in the bins.

The final piece of the event was that the team worked to ensure that all donations were sorted properly as the FIR office continued to get fuller with donations. The donations were distributed to three different charities: Salvation Army, Genesis Women's Shelter, and a foster care connection. The latter was an added bonus as we found out during the donation drive that a staff member was connected to a family that fosters children that often arrive with just a small trash bag of belongings and often only one set of clothes.

Word Count: 400

Goals of the program:

1. Provide an easily accessible service opportunity for residents

2. Help cut down on end of the semester waste

3. Promote sustainability by promoting donation for reuse by other students as well as through charitable organizations

4. Have a streamlined system of collecting donations that is easy for residents to understand

Word Count: 51

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

The most positive effect was the sheer volume of donations with almost 40 bags of donated items. It was the most successful donation drive to date for not just Loyd, but any of the residential communities at SMU. Most communities choose not to do a donation drive because they see it as too much work. Because other communities saw how successful the Loyd Donation Drive was going, they asked if they could add in donations from their own residents as well. Three other communities added to the 40 bags of donations.

While SMU brings Goodwill Industries on campus during closing, most students do not take their belongings to the trucks because the trash dumpsters are closer to their buildings. Having the donation drive easily accessible to students in the 1st floor lounge, it made it easy for residents to drop their donations in the proper bin instead of just throwing it away.

The RA staff saw how manageable the event was with the labeled bins. Now it is an event they are looking forward to doing again instead of something they dread about the possibility of having to do. They have discussed doing a small donation in December as well.

Word Count: 200

Short evaluation of the program:

Everything went very well for the donation drive and after reviewing the process, there were only a few areas that the team would do differently for the next round. The use of labeled bins was a great decision as it helped keep all of the items sorted in an organized fashion. Additional bins were already procured to have extra for next year.

For changes, because the donated bedding such as comforters took up more space, we may get larger boxes to accommodate the amount of bedding that was donated. There were several requests as well for large furniture donation such as futons. We were unable to take large furniture this year as we did not have a space to store the items temporarily - we would have had about 10 futons to hold for the donation trucks. We hope to have a better solution for larger pieces of furniture as well.

Word Count: 151

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

Many campuses do similar donation drives, but here are a few tips to consider when organizing your own donation drive.

1. Make sure to monitor the donations to keep it from overflowing. Have a space set aside where items can be stored through the end

2. Select a charity for your donations that suits your needs and matches the values of your community. Even though Salvation Army may not 100% match the values of our community, we chose to use them because of the volume of donations and that they pick up directly from us.

3. Having separate bins for different types of donations was hugely helpful. You do not need plastic bins - we have used large re-purposed cardboard boxes in previous years, which also works just fine.

4. We recognize that not all institutions and charities are able to accept all types of donations - as some may only accept clothing for example. We encourage you to still collect items that could be used by next years residents instead of letting residents throw away usable items. We plan to have leftover school supplies available for next years residents during opening.

Word Count: 192

Date of entry into database: 2017-06-08 07:43:40

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