Featured School of Medicine Waste

Olin Residence Hall Furniture Recycling

Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) students have called Olin Residence Hall home since it was built in 1959. Because it houses over 200 residents at a time, it has also seen its share of furniture over the past fifty-seven years. In 2014, the Facilities Management Department (FMD) began administering the lease for the Quadrangle, which manages the residence hall. Prior to FMD’s involvement, old furniture often sat in storage closets, where it disintegrated and was then thrown in the garbage.

olin 7After learning of the need to dispose of the furniture in Olin, Wanda Haertling, Purchasing Supervisor in FMD, researched not-for-profit organizations in the St. Louis area that were seeking furniture donations. She discovered Home Sweet Home, an organization that works with local non-profit organizations to help their clients transition to new living situations by providing furnishings and other basics. Clients typically include survivors of domestic abuse, veterans, homeless, and ex-offenders.

On June 8, with the help of volunteers from WUSM staff and Home Sweet Home, fifty-four pieces of furniture, including beds, dressers, chairs, and tables, were loaded onto trucks for donation. In a Tweet, Home Sweet Home said “Soooo many beds! Thanks to the hard work of so many…we are able to provide so many household items to clients waiting for furniture. Of course, we have to thank the fine staff at Washington University in St. Louis for their donation as well as the staff enthusiasm to help us with this project.”

This project was a win – win for Home Sweet Home and WUSM. Instead of the lightly used furniture sitting in a storage closet, where it would likely wear out, it is now in the process of going into the home of a person who needs it.