Just a few days after Queen’s University move-out period and semester has ended, students who packed up and went back to their hometown left a considerable amount of garbage and items on the streets of the university district.
Oliver Hill says they were once homeless and now lives in the university district. Oliver looks forward to move-out confusion, and rush each year.
“It really does feel like Santa’s dropping little presents on the street so I can pick them up,” they said.
“Getting this place with only a bag on my back, and like my basic needs and then being able to fill it with really nice furniture surprisingly, it really every single year feels like a blessing,” Oliver continued.
Matthew Tyrrell helped his younger brother move out from his off-campus shared residence last week, but says they’ve struggled finding resources to properly dispose of furniture. Not wanting to leave garbage and large items on the curb, they searched for places to give them away and paid to get them properly disposed of at a construction site dump.
“The students are absolutely, you know, partially to blame for the amount of garbage left around. But when the city and the school especially set the students up for failure by not giving them very clear options to go and dispose of their stuff, or the best ways to move out, then it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Tyrrell said.
Tyrrell said that the university didn’t clearly indicate where students could dump larger items and that move-out weekend could have been better organized. Oliver echoed that statement, adding that the lockdown made things more complicated than usual.
“Once things are a bit more normal, maybe connecting with community groups or seeing where you could donate things instead of chucking or selling them,” Oliver said.
In a note to students sharing a list of resources for where to bring items and garbage throughout Kingston, Queen’s University said, ” sustainable move-out means taking responsibility for donating, trading, recycling, and moving unwanted items”
Adam Mueller, the public education and promotions coordinator for Solid Waste Services, says that the city started communicating with students over a month ago, in anticipation of the big spring move-out.
“Back in March, we provided the students as well as St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University with information on creating a disposable plan. Knowing that the students might not pay attention immediately when dealing with it, we’ve informed them of different transport centres in the city,” Mueller said.
They have a suggestion on what to keep in mind when packing to go back home.
“Always be looking out for the people … a little bit less fortunate than you, and seeing how you can help them with the stuff that doesn’t mean much to you anymore,” Oliver said.
Oliver chalks the confusion up to the pandemic and services having limited hours. For Oliver, this year’s haul over move-out season included textbooks and a new bed. Tyrrell and his sibling are not the only students who were left to figure out how to dispose of large items.