Ryan Chartrand

Every year, thousands of students leave Cal Poly’s residence halls and go elsewhere, whether it be home or a new apartment, and every year those students leave behind tons of stuff.

“They leave behind everything – computers, clothes, food,” said Terry McGillicuddy, the manager of custodial services on campus.

The forgotten items that students leave behind are put to good use.

“We give the stuff to Achievement House and they sell the items in their thrift stores or give them to people who need them,” McGillicuddy said.

Achievement House, Inc. is a San Luis Obispo County-based organization that helps people with disabilities or special needs jobs. The organization runs two thrift stores and a nursery.

There are separate bins for food, clothing, e-waste (electronics or anything with a plug) and general stuff in every dorm.

“I think computers are odd to throw out, but we get bedding, closet separaters and shoe racks too,” McGillicuddy said.

The sum of the donations will go to the Salvation Army and the food will go to the AIDS Support Network, which then goes to its food banks.

The AIDS Support Network of San Luis Obispo County is a United Way partner that provides support services to people living with HIV/AIDS, their families and friends. It is the sole community-based, nonprofit organization for people with AIDS in the county.

Suzanne Fritz, the assistant director of Residential Life and Education, said, “It’s just a desire to make sure we reduce waste and give it to someone who can benefit from it.”

The program, which has been going on for 15 years, often changes charities depending on the community’s need.

“The students donate a lot to the community and do a lot of good for the community,” Fritz said. “Thousands to tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff is donated every year.”

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