MOP was founded by Christina Fuller in 2018. As both a local to the area and a student at Binghamton University, she saw the immense amount of waste that was generated by students during spring move out and the impact it had on the surrounding community: trash strewn about in the roads, usable items sitting on the curb in the rain waiting for garbage collection, and tension between local residents and university students. Growing up in Johnson City, Christina had a grasp on some of the struggles the community faced as well as the disconnect between the university and the local residents. She realized that the current move-out situation exacerbated that, but saw great opportunity in cleaning up the streets, diverting waste from the landfill, and giving back to the community. With motivation from her family and friends, she joined an environmental group on BU’s campus to discuss a solution to this problem, and the project was born. The first cycle ran in 2018 with Christina and five friends from the club. Students signed up to have their donations picked up and a volunteer would drive out to collect them. They collected donations from 104 students with their personal vehicles and sorted them out of her college apartment. All donations were then brought by volunteers to The Salvation Army and The Rescue Mission.
While we continue to follow this model of signups and pickups, the project has grown considerably since its first year. No longer a small makeshift effort, MOP is an official project of the Susquehanna Group of the Sierra Club, with Chris Harasta co-leading the project with Christina. We now operate out of a warehouse in Johnson City and in 2022 had the help of over 30 volunteers. U-Hauls are often deployed for larger pickups and to date, we have picked up items from more than 320 students living off-campus. In collaboration with ResLife at Binghamton University, we have also started to collect donations from dorms during campus move out days. Additionally, we have significantly expanded the list of recipient organizations for donations in pursuit of a more community-based approach. This allows specific items to get into the hands of those who need them more quickly and at no cost. We are actively looking for ways to expand our reach and make a bigger impact, and have dreams of bringing this initiative to other universities in the future.
All in all, our mission is simple: to divert as many usable items as possible from the landfill and redistribute them into the community.