PittServes and OPDC tackle student move-out with Clutter for a Cause collection events

On July 28 and August 11, OPDC collaborated with PittServes’ Office of Sustainability to organize two off-campus collection drives for student residents to recycle their unwanted – but still usable – stuff.

In past years, summer has meant piles of garbage in Oakland, as student renters move out and leave their unwanted belongings on the sidewalk for trash day. Then, as new tenants move in, the streets are littered again with the empty boxes from newly-purchased household items that will likely end up on the sidewalk a year later. This cycle is wasteful, expensive, and unnecessary.


In partnership with PittServes, we brainstormed a green and convenient solution to keeping Oakland’s sidewalks clear.

Previously, PittServes organized end-of-the-year collection drives in the dorms, but this was the first time off-campus students had the opportunity to donate their belongings closer to when most leases expire.

Intrepid student volunteers scoured Central Oakland looking for discarded treasures and tenant recycling heroes brought us arm- and car-loads full of non-perishable food, clothing, household items, and furniture.

“The opportunity and ease of access made a difference in the community of Oakland,” says Chaz Kellem, PittServes Director. “We appreciate the partnership with OPDC and look forward to continuing this effort.”

Part of the haul was sold at Thriftsburgh to incoming students and the remaining items were donated to community partners including, the Pitt Pantry, Free Store Wilkinsburg, Off the Floor Pittsburgh, St. Vincent DePaul, and Goodwill.

Marita Garret, Mayor of Wilkinsburg and Board President of Free Store Wilkinsburg, volunteered at the event with her mother.

“Collection drives like this are important for organizations like Free Store Wilkinsburg, because we rely so heavily on public donations,” explained Garrett. “This granted us an opportunity to pair some great household items with individuals who could truly benefit from them.”

OPDC plans to continue working with PittServes, the Oakland Landlord Alliance, and local donation centers to expand these events and connect with more student renters next summer.