So last week at work, Kim, Nishka and I were told by Michael that there was a whole dumpster full of old residence chairs and that we should take a look to see if we could adopt one. They desperately needed a home as they were all being thrown out the next day.

We salvaged a good number for the Cabinet office, a decent number for some friends who couldn't make it to campus in time and just a few more for good measure. Still, a whole mountain of chairs still resided in the dumpster. So doing what we do best. . . we posted pictures on Facebook and urged many students to come on down to LEC's parking lot to adopt one! Needless to say from the photo evidence alone, this garnered quite a successful turnout! 

It was so heart-warming to see alumni (dons) request one to be saved for them to pick up as a token of their time spent in residence. Many second and third year students revisited their first years by claiming one of these for their apartment or shared housing. Despite these chairs not being part of the historical designed collection at Trent, they served as monumental tokens of many first years.

The next morning, a.k.a. dumpster pick up, I arrived early to work to salvage a few more as requests had populated Facebook during the night. An old student came by with her dad and just kept making trips back and forth to try and save as many chairs as they could! Definitely made a dent! I was just so shocked that 3/4 of the dumpster had been emptied! Beyond heart-warming! It was such a community effort and definitely made me smile for the rest of the day.

CONTROVERSY:
-Many were outraged by the photos and felt it was irresponsible of LEC/Housing to dispose of them when they could've been 'saved'.
-Many were also saddened by the fact they could not pick one up as they were out of town, and couldn't understand why they could not be kept till September when everyone was back.

FACTS:
-Housing consulted Michael beforehand to see if they held historical significance- after this consultation which proved they did not, the decision was made to replace them with brand new ones for residence (which was a nice upgrade!)
-The chairs in nicer conditions were actually donated to Habitat for Humanity and similar groups in Peterborough.
-Many other places did not accept them as they were scared of bedbugs (since they originated from a university residence) - CLARIFICATION - they do not have bedbugs, but many weren't going to take that chance or spend the money to reupholster all the chairs.
-Dumpster decision was so fast because of all the work that goes into prepping the residence for new students - whole system and wait time for students to come pick up was not a side project any department could handle in what is known to many university staff and professionals as "August Rush" - there were only so many days before students moved in! 
-Salvaging project was taken on by the LEC interns and did in fact, give many chairs a home :)


CONCLUSION:
Personally, I thought every dept. involved was responsible in the way it was handled. The controversies on Facebook was brought on by miscommunication, or rather, lack of communication. 

This is a particular example where our staff try to the best of their ability in terms of resources, man-power and time to do what was right. Think I've definitely gained an appreciation for all staff after working in different departments over the years. Being a student, a don, a college intern etc. has given me perspective to understand all the logistical reasoning for what and why things are done. 

Students want to save everything and make good use of things. 
Dons and Housing want whats best for incoming students. 
College interns want to spread the word and do both of the above.

All in all, a phenomenal community effort that showcased our love for LEC! :) 

Cheers, 
Jess.
 


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