It's a big weekend for Eau Claire college students as many move out of their school year housing, and while they may be leaving, it's what they leave behind that can become a problem for the city.
This week piles of unused furniture and discarded trash are everywhere as college students move out. Recent Eau Claire graduates Johnnie Johnson and Tanner Luke says as the deadline for moving out gets closer students try and get rid of their garbage quickly.
Luke says, “It only gets more desperate as it gets closer to the end. When people have to get rid of their stuff, if you have a couple of weeks to move out, you move stuff out slowly but tomorrow is the day we have to move stuff out so it's pretty much all going in the trash.
The problem comes when the desperate rush can leave an eyesore behind. That's why the Eau Claire police department partnered with the University of Wisconsin -Eau Claire and the Eau Claire City-Country health department to keep the streets clean.
They created the program, Pack It Up, Pass It On which allows campus students to leave usable items on the corner of 2nd Ave and Water Street on May 15th and 16th. If students miss those days they're also able to take advantage of a daily curbside garbage pickup from May 16th until the 24th. That’s when students can contact their refuse hauler to pick up their unusable items for a small fee. KT Gallagher with the Eau Claire City-Country health department says keeping the streets clean is important for our health.
Gallagher says, "We want to keep our place safe and healthy and obviously when we have garbage all the way around us, it's not healthy or safe. So, we want to make sure we're doing a safe job, responsibly when moving out our garbage."
Travis Quella, a Patrol Sergeant with the Eau Claire police department says the program has helped with the trash removal. Quella says, “We've been very successful at reducing the amount that's been left out on the curbs. It's an absolute dramatic difference; we feel it's been very successful."
Quella also says it's a team effort to make sure our city remains clean. Quella says, "I think the overwhelming percentage of UWEC students are quite responsible, but it just takes a small percentage of the irresponsible ones to really create quite an eyesore."
The Eau Claire police department says if students don't comply with city ordinances they can be fined, with some landlords even increasing security deposits to make sure there is enough money to cover the potential citations. That’s why the department recommends taking advantage of programs like Pack It Up, Pass It On.