In a small Barnard College classroom, a group of over thirty rising college freshmen sorted through lamps, sheets, towels, rugs, fans and hangers to stock their soon-to-be dorm rooms. The items had been collected by Grad Bag, a local organization that gathers dorm room items from recent college graduates to be distributed to incoming freshmen who may not have the means to buy them on their own.
For its inaugural event, Grad Bag partnered with Let’s Get Ready (LGR) and College Summit, college prep and mentorship programs based in Manhattan. The event was part of LGR’s first annual orientation for students who start college in the fall. At the end of the program, each student selected items from the Grad Bag collection. By day’s end, every single item had been distributed. “It was an incredibly successful program; it makes us confident that the model will succeed at colleges and universities around the country,” said founder Liz Gruber.
Grad Bag was founded by Tara Tyberg and Liz Gruber in 2012. When moving their children out of their college rooms, Tyberg and Gruber realized that there were a lot of dorm room items college kids have no use for once they’ve graduated but are in fine workable condition. Over the last few months, the pair contacted their friends and neighbors—parents of recent college graduates—to gather items that would otherwise be thrown away.
The August event was the organization’s pilot program. Gruber and Tyberg hope to coordinate with colleges to place collection sites near senior student's living quarters where they can donate unwanted items that Grad Bag could then arrange to pick up, sort and redistribute.