Sweeps Week is a Campus Ministry sponsored program that collects unwanted items, including clothing, food, toiletries, linens, house wares and textbooks, as students move out of the residence halls at the end of each academic year in May. This program began in 2005 by collecting food, clothing and laundry detergent.
The mission of the program was to lighten the load of students moving out by sharing their surplus of items with the local community in need.
The success of the first year led to expanding both the items accepted and the agencies that benefit. By accepting items such as house wares, small appliances, furniture, lamps and rugs, this program helped to lessen the amount of usable items that were ending up in the dumpsters and entering the waste stream. It also served to help local families who had adequate shelter but nothing with which to furnish their home. The agencies that benefit from this program include Lazarus House [www.lazarushouse.org/] (food, cleaning supplies, toiletries), St. Vincent DePaul (clothing) and Mission of Deeds [www.missionofdeeds.org/] (house wares, furniture, appliances).Now in collaboration with the Campus Sustainability Initiative, this program has gained more awareness across campus as it promotes an environmentally responsible mission. Already there have been new ideas of ways to increase this responsibility including the request to offer paper recycling for notebooks throughout the week, as well as recycling of cans and bottles.