Bates' ninth annual Clean Sweep benefits environment, nonprofits

Clean Sweep, Bates College's seventh annual "garage sale" of electronics, furnishings, bikes, toys and other goods donated by departing students, takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at the college's Underhill Arena, 145 Russell St.

When Bates College environmental coordinator Julie Rosenbach places cartons marked “Clean Sweep” in the college’s dorms each spring, students know just what to do.

In those cartons and at the college’s ice arena, they drop off small furnishings, electronics, sports gear and other useable stuff they won’t take along when they leave campus this spring. These goodies will be offered for sale at Clean Sweep, Bates’ annual “garage sale” that keeps truckloads of useful items out of the waste stream and raises money for nonprofit organizations in the region.

The ninth Clean Sweep sale takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 20, at the college’s Underhill Arena, 145 Russell St. The sale is open to the public. To learn more, please contact Rosenbach at 207-786-8367 or

(NOTE: The summer 2009 edition of “Bates Invites You,” Bates College’s events calendar, incorrectly stated that the public is invited to help staff or donate items to Clean Sweep. We regret the error.)

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

Bates’ event has become a tradition on campus and in the region. Different nonprofits participate every year and the boxes Rosenbach places in dormitories are always filled to overflowing.

“People look forward to the sale. They expect it,” Rosenbach says. “And they really like being a part of it.”

This year, at least 10 nonprofit organizations will be taking part by collecting goods from around campus, helping organize the sale or volunteering at the event.

In 2008, more than 115 people from 14 local nonprofit organizations volunteered 1,000 hours of collecting, sorting, cleaning, organizing, pricing and selling items. Less than 1 percent of sale items ended up in the trash, and the sale raised nearly $12,000 for participating nonprofits.

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