Rising UVM freshman collects trash in exchange for donations toward tuition

Rising UVM freshman collects trash in exchange for donations toward tuition


An incoming student at the University of Vermont is raising money toward his college education and also giving back to the environment in the process.

“I just felt like I needed to earn it somehow,” said Matt Coulter.

Coulter quickly realized college would not be a cheap endeavor, and he needed a way to help offset the financial strain. Not quick to stick out his hand, Matt decided he would make good on people helping him, by helping the environment.

“My parents instilled the ‘leave it better than you found it’ everywhere we go” he said.

The Pennsylvania native created a GoFundMe page. For every donation received, the rising freshman pledged to fill up two trash bags with garbage picked up around his community, about 30 minutes outside of philly. Since March, he estimates 250 trash bags have been packed up with litter.

“The most common things I find are soda cans and bottles. What I found was kind of scary in a way was how much of the smaller pieces there are. The problem is that it breaks down and gets into the soil,” he said. “It’s hard to go through and pick out all the little tiny pieces of wrappers and stuff like that.”

A tire, headlights from a car, and a TV remote were among some of the larger items Coulter’s come across. His work with nature will only continue this fall as he moves to the Green Mountain State. Matt is enrolled in the environmental studies major at UVM.

“In the grand scheme of things, what I’m doing might not have a huge impact overall,” he said. “If everyone does their little part, then it will add up over time.”

The GoFundMe page has raised more than $10 thousand toward Coulter’s education.



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