Student’s Trash, Community’s Treasure


WEST HAVEN, Conn (WTNH) — It’s move-out day for many colleges across the state, including the University of New Haven.

A year on campus comes with a lot of memories, and a lot stuff.

When it doesn’t fit in the car ride back to the hometown, it’s got to stay.

That’s when Jessica Zielinski and her team of student volunteers step in.

They help transform one student’s trash into the community’s treasure.

Fans, toasters, hot plates, mirrors, futons, this list of things left behind goes on and on.

“We usually get a lot of big TV’s – like tube TV’s,” said Zielinski.

Zielinksi started the massive recycling program three years ago.

The students put the items in storage and volunteers sort them all summer.

Some go to various charities, including animal shelters, local veteran causes and others are sold at a tag sale on the campus in the fall.

“We have a lot of the foam that students use for their beds, then we give them all the animal shelters at the end of the year,” said Zielinksi.

The padding is used for pets in the area.

Any conked out appliances will get recycled.

A tough task, but well worth the effort.

“It’s very gratifying because it feels like we are making a big difference,” said Zielinksi.

Jessica Zelinski is from Branford, she has won national scholarships and is a veteran.