Clean Sweep sale raises nearly $12,000 for local nonprofits

The eighth annual Clean Sweep, the Bates College “garage sale” of appliances, furnishings, electronics and other goods donated by departing students, raised nearly $12,000 in proceeds that will be divided among 14 local nonprofit organizations.

A community tradition, the June 14 sale drew droves of eager bargain-hunters to the college’s Underhill Arena, on Russell Street.

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.

The sale both keeps unwanted possessions out of the waste stream and raises money for the organizations. Nonprofits supply volunteers to help staff the event, and in return receive a share of the proceeds proportionate to the amount of time volunteered.

“More than 115 volunteers from the nonprofits put in a total of about 1,000 hours collecting, sorting, cleaning, organizing, pricing and selling an arena full of items that would have otherwise gone to waste,” says Julie Rosenbach, the college’s environmental coordinator.

“It made a difference,” she says. “I estimate that we sold approximately 85 percent of the items collected,” with the participating nonprofits and Bates employees taking their pick from the remainder. “In the end, less than 1 percent of everything we collected went into the trash.”

Items donated by Bates students and the community included appliances, furniture, sporting goods, housewares and electronics, books, toys, clothes and shoes.

The beneficiaries of the June 14 event were: Caleb Community Garden; Common Ties; First Universalist Church; Justice, Ecology and Democracy Collective; Life Center; Literacy Volunteers; Lots to Gardens; Maine Fair Trade Campaign; Maine People’s Alliance; Our Lady of the Rosary; Sandcastle Preschool; Share Center; Somali Bantu Community Association; and TriCounty Mental Health Services.

This year’s sale raised $11,897. Last year, 18 local school and nonprofit organizations divided $17,648 in proceeds. The total for 2006 was around $10,000.

Office of Communications and Media Relations

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