The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Lost items at DePaul find new life as donations

lostAt DePaul, items that have been unfortunately lost gain a second life in helping the unfortunate. Items like bikes and clothing find new homes at local charities.

Lincoln Park campus Director of Public Safety, Bob Wachowski, and Assistant Director Mike Dohm, explained how this works in the lost and found.

Public Safety donates most unclaimed items to the St. Vincent DePaul Center, run by Marillac St. Vincent Family Services. The name of the charity “says it all” as to why DePaul would partner with them, Dohm said.

Because items are lost across campus, they might be turned in at several locations, including the front desks of the Student Center, Rey Meyer Fitness Center and Richardson Library. However, the main location is Public Safety’s Communication Center on the third floor of Centennial Hall.

A wide variety of items, including textbooks, electronics, water bottles and single gloves find themselves waiting for their owners to return.

Most of the items turned in to Public Safety are either low value items or wallets.

Wallets tend to be the easiest to return, since identifications are almost always included in them. Even without a driver’s license or ID, wallets usually contain something with the owner’s name, which can be searched through Campus Connect, and the owner can be contacted.

However, some items are untraceable. Cell phones, if dead or locked, are nearly impossible to return unless the owners come to claim them. In most cases, people are responsible for coming to the lost and found.

Generally, items are kept for 30 days. After that, some items, like car keys, are destroyed. The rest of the items are donated to charity.

“I personally think that 30 days is not long enough to wait before donating items found. I would say they should be held for at least three months, a quarter, in case someone is looking,” freshman Hillary Horsfall said.

The organization’s St. Vincent DePaul Center, located at 2145 N. Halsted St., offers several childhood development programs, senior services and community outreach for at-risk families on the North Side of Chicago.

“We use them because they work with families, single moms with kids and people down on their luck who need a little help to get along,” Dohm said.

Donated items are sold alongside gently used clothing, goods and housewares at the center’s storefront shop, Nearly New Thrift Store. The proceeds fund the center’s mission. DePaul students, faculty and staff also receive a 20 percent discount with their DePaul IDs.

DePaul’s Public Safety collects anything from abandoned and rusty bikes to bicycles left over the summer. When they see a seemingly abandoned bicycle, they attach a note and wait to see if it is moved or used. They wait anywhere from a few weeks to an entire quarter before removing a bike, depending on what shape it’s in.

Working Bikes, located at 2434 S. Western Ave., receives lost and unclaimed money as well as bicycles.

Since its inception in 1999, Working Bikes has redistributed over 6,000 bicycles each year to its international and local partners, according to its website. Bikes sent to developing countries throughout Africa and Latin America help provide access to jobs, education and medical care. Local bicycles are provided to the homeless, refugees and youth.

“This charity helps people go further in their lives — literally,” freshman Cathryn Augustine said.

Working Bikes also sells remodeled bikes and provides bike services to fund operations.

“I’m glad to hear of such a useful charity,” senior Anthony Driscoll said. “Usually as a student here, you have to dig to find out about charities.”

Freshman Jessica Gandhi  agreed. She didn’t know that places like Working Bikes exist. “I think Public Safety should advertise that because I think students would donate their bikes. After hearing about it, I’d be interested in donating mine,” she said.

According to Wachowski and Dohm, many items go unclaimed. They encourage students to stop by the main lost and found or to call, especially for more valuable items.

In Lincoln Park, lost items can be taken to the Communication Center located at Centennial Hall, Suite 304 773-325-7777. Or, Lewis Hall-LL101 at 25 E.Jackson 312-362-8400, for the Loop campus.

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