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May 2016 NUI Galway Student’s Novel Collection Scheme Helping the Homeless
This year NUI Galway’s Rover Society launched a new initiative to gather goods, including old clothes or blankets and unopened food stuff, left behind by students which will be donated to the homeless charity COPE. The NUI Galway Rover Society is the Scout society in NUI Galway who aims to promote the outdoors in the University but is also working towards better community outreach.
Cathal Breathnach, Auditor of the Rover Society at NUI Galway, said: “Last September, the society collected over 1,100 sleeping bags from the aftermath of Electric Picnic which were donated to COPE Galway. Following this, we met with COPE to see we could help the ongoing homeless situation in the city. COPE was in need of everyday items, such as clothes, blankets, duvets, footwear, unused food, books, DVDs or art materials, and we realised these are items typically used by students during the year that they wouldn’t always bring home.”
“The Society ran a small ‘drive by’ collection before Christmas and realised the potential of running a large scale collection after the summer exams, when most students would be leaving the city. After speaking with some of the University management, we realised that similar schemes are run in United States and we then in turn looked to representatives across the Atlantic for advice,” continued Cathal.
The scheme that was developed, modelled off what they learned from talking to those in the USA, involved leaving a number of drop-off boxes in convenient locations around the University and in the different student accommodation complexes. Held over a three week period, students and staff were been able to drop off any unwanted items they had at home.
The Rover Society have collected countless boxes and bags non-stop over the past few weeks, and almost ten van loads of items have been transferred to date over to COPE. It is hoped that the majority of these items will be usable directly by COPE themselves and others items can be sold on to put more funds into the work the charity does for the homeless.
The Society are hoping that a similar scheme could be implemented in other universities across the country to try and reduce waste and pass such items to those who need them. For more information on the work carried out by the Rover Society or to donate unwanted items visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NUIGRoverSoc/.