The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Donates Furniture to Local Homeless Shelter

Laura Miller, the University’s director of energy and sustainability who coordinated a contribution to the Columbus House, discusses her efforts to reduce waste by giving back to the community and shares how students can get involved.

October 29, 2018

By Laura Miller, Director of Energy and Sustainability

Image of Columbus House Inc.
Columbus House Inc, a homeless shelter in New Haven, Connecticut

Laura Miller headshot
Laura Miller, M.S., LEED GA

I joined the University in March to oversee campus energy and sustainability initiatives. Campus sustainability means assessing the needs of current and future members of the University community while focusing on the resources we use as well as our responsibility within the greater community.

At the end of May, the Office of Facilities and the Office of Residence Life started implementing a furniture transition plan. In advance of this, I reached out to local nonprofit organizations to see if they were interested in receiving items we would no longer be using.

The University ended up donating 1,500 pounds of items to Goodwill. I also connected with Columbus House, a New Haven-based homeless shelter, serving veterans, families, and children, which let me know they were also interested in furniture items the University may have to donate.

As a result, the University donated 74 bed frames and other furniture items that are currently in use at the Columbus House. They recently invited our staff to tour their facility located on Ella T. Grasso Blvd.

Furniture donated
Some of the bed frames donated by the University to the Columbus House.

More furniture will be donated when the organization’s new Middletown location opens in early 2019.

These efforts enabled the University to remove a large portion of materials that may have ended up as trash, reducing our impact on the environment, and enabling us to make an important impact on the community.

Moving forward, I would like to build a greater connection with the Columbus House organization, which serves up to 3,000 homeless people per year in its New Haven location.

Giving back in this way enables students to become engaged in the Greater New Haven area, encourages our students to share stories and learn from the stories of others, and fosters a deeper connection to the community we are a part of.

My goal is to build a relationship between student groups and the community through events such as fundraisers, and "welcome home kit" building that will help those who are looking for more permanent housing.Laura Miller, Director of Energy and Sustainability

Students interested in learning more about getting involved can email