Piles of trash, some 5 feet high, littered neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota last fall. The piles were so big — and neighbors so exasperated — that they made the news.

“Dinkytown or Stinkytown?” one headline read.

Not this semester, some officials hope.

A new plan, run by the university’s ReUse Program and others, will target move-out messes this May. A day before city garbage comes by, Salvation Army will do its own grab. Then, the university will collect reusable items in a free store for students to peruse in both spring and fall.

It’s called “Pack and Give Back.”

The goal is to keep furniture, appliances, clothing and other things out of the garbage and “put them back into the hands of other students,” said Stacey White, supervisor of the ReUse Program.

This spring’s effort will focus on Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como, White said, but could later expand to other areas.

But one neighborhood leader wonders why groups are building a move-out program from scratch when the Southeast Como Improvement Association already established one that worked.

Starting in spring 2010, the association held four events called Move-In/Move-Out, collecting more than 26,000 pounds of reusable goods.

But then, partly because of diminished funding to neighborhood groups, the association put the events on hold.

The result? Trash that made the news.

Wendy Menken, the association’s president, worries that the new program doesn’t “loop back” to residents, as the old one did. The association’s “free store” was open to neighbors, for example, while the U’s will be students-only.

But neighbors will “certainly” help with the event, she said. “I do hope it works.” Menken would like to see leaders better handle trash that’s left even after extracting the usable items.

She is sick of holiday weekends being decorated by trash: “That’s unacceptable.”