Fourth Bates College 'yard sale' to benefit local non-profits

Clean Sweep, Bates College’s fourth annual sale of furnishings and other goods donated by departing students, takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 19, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, June 20, at the college’s Underhill Arena, 145 Russell St.

For more information about the sale, please call 207-786-6468.

Bates is one of a growing number of colleges and universities nationwide that benefit both the environment and local non-profit organizations by selling useful possessions — CDs, sports equipment, electronics, household goods and myriad other things — donated by departing students.

“This project is a win-win situation,” says Clean Sweep organizer Ryan Conrad, who just finished his junior year at Bates.

The environment benefits because these discarded possessions, however useful and desirable, would otherwise go into the waste stream.

Meanwhile, local organizations supply volunteer workers for the sale and benefit in turn by receiving a share of the proceeds. Participants in this year’s sale include Androscoggin Head Start; the Justice, Ecology, and Democracy Center of Greene; the Maine Independent Media Center; the Many and One Coalition; Hilltop Community Garden and others.

Last year’s event raised approximately $10,000 for participating non-profit groups.

For 2004, organizers have allowed more time between the collection of possessions and the sale, making for improved sorting, presentation and pricing. “This year’s sale should be better, less stressful and more organized than any prior year,” Conrad says.

Clean Sweep at Bates evolved from Dump & Run, an event held at colleges and universities across the nation. Dump & Run was started in 2000 by Lisa Heller, a student at the University of Richmond, in Virginia, who was appalled at the number of unspoiled possessions going to waste at the start of every summer.

Heller, who served as acting debate coach at Bates College in 2000 and 2001, organized a sale of such goods to benefit local non-profits. Her Massachusetts-based organization, Dump & Run, now sanctions the sales across North America. Bates is among several schools that started with Dump & Run and now produce their sales independently.

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