Local organizations share more than $9,500 from 'Clean Sweep' sale

The sixth annual Clean Sweep, the Bates College “garage sale” of furnishings, books, electronics and other goods donated by departing students, generated some $9,579 in proceeds that were divided among nine local nonprofit organizations and a school athletics program.

Beneficiaries of the June 17 event included the Maine Fair Trade Campaign, Androscoggin Head Start, the Maine People’s Alliance, the Lewiston High School track and field program, Nana’s Dream Museum of Miniatures, Common Ties, the Caleb Community Garden, the Share Center, New Beginnings and the Justice, Ecology and Democracy Collective.

More than 100 volunteers from those organizations helped staff the event. Goods donated to the sale filled 60 8-foot tables plus floor space roughly equal to another 100 such tables. Items donated by Bates students and the community included furniture, sporting goods, housewares and electronics, clothes and shoes. An estimated 88 percent of the goods were sold, 11 percent were donated to charitable organizations and a mere 1 percent entered the waste stream.

“I think the sale couldn’t help but be a success — an arena full of items that would have gone to trash got reused,” said Julie Rosenbach, the college’s environmental coordinator and event organizer. “That’s a lot smarter than burying those resources in a landfill.”

“At the same time, working with local volunteer groups was a lot of fun,” added Rosenbach, who started working at Bates this spring. “It felt like a true community effort.”

Bates is one of a number of colleges and universities nationwide that benefit both local nonprofit organizations and the environment by selling useful possessions donated by students as they head out at the end of the academic year.

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