Guest post by Sapna Batish

Are you interested in reducing waste during campus move-out from college dorms this spring? Your college or university may already have a program in place to help you do just that.  With names such as “Goodwill Not Landfill”, “Share Our Stuff”, “Give + Go”, and my personal favorite name, “Dump & Run”, campuses are finding fun and creative ways to divert thousands of tons of garbage from landfills during student move-out. This trash very often consists of reusable items such as electronics, clothing, housewares, and furniture; some discarded items contain carcinogens such as lead or mercury.

Many move-out programs rely on volunteers. Top: CCU volunteers with a few random finds from Campus Salvage (image courtesy Sustainability Initiative of CCU). Bottom: Skidmore College volunteers help with 7th annual Give+Go (image courtesy of Riley Neugebauer, Sustainable Skidmore
Many move-out programs rely on volunteers. Top: CCU volunteers with a few random finds from Campus Salvage (image courtesy Sustainability Initiative of CCU). Bottom: Skidmore College volunteers help with 7th annual Give+Go (image courtesy of Riley Neugebauer, Sustainable Skidmore).
Through University of California Davis’s “Goodwill Not Landfill ” program, UC Davis Student Housing will collect reusable goods and non-perishable items. To simplify the donation process during the hectic and often stressful days of finals and moving out, collection centers will be located in each residence hall.  The UC Davis Housing website lists the items that can and cannot be donated. All non-food donations will be donated to Goodwill Industries and the Aggie ReUse Store, while non-perishable food items will be donated to the Food Bank of Yolo County.

Share Our Stuff” is Washington University in St. Louis’s annual move-out donation drive for students on campus with drop-off locations on the first floor or basement of every dorm, fraternity, or on-campus apartment. Its off-campus counterpart, “Lightening Your Load”, will take place from 11 am to 2 pm on May 17, 2014.  Recipients of donated items include MERS/Goodwill and Operation Food Search, a St. Louis-area food bank.

University of California Berkeley’s “Cal Move Out” initiative offers students a greener way to move out. Students will have the opportunity to donate clothes, shoes, electronics, working household appliances, books, notebooks, gently-used furniture, mattresses, e-waste, and bikes. The Cal Move-Out program brings together the resources of the UC Berkeley and the City of Berkeley in an effort to decrease the environmental and social impacts of illegal dumping in near-campus neighborhoods.

Brandeis University’s “Give + Go” drive helps students to donate, instead of dump, the following items:  clean clothing, shoes, sheets, and towels, household goods, electronics (microwaves, fridges, and lamps), small furniture items, books, and unopened toiletries (open shampoo and laundry detergents are acceptable).

Cornell University’s “Dump & Run” program collects items from departing students in the spring, and resells them to students moving onto campus in the fall as well as to the general Cornell and Ithaca communities. This year, items will be collected from students leaving campus in the spring and the 2014 Dump & Run sale will take place during Orientation Weekend in August.   The annual Dump & Run sale diverts tons of trash from landfills while raising more than $50,000 a year for local charitable organizations, including Cops, Kids & Toys, Loaves & Fishes Shelter Outreach Services, Finger Lakes ReUse, and the Cornell United Way Student Campaign.

Each year, Oregon State University holds a move-out donation drive, in an effort to reduce waste during campus move-out.  Donations are sorted into different categories and donated to local non-profits.  In 2013, OSU’s donation drive resulted in diverting 26,000 lbs. of material from landfills.  This year’s goal is 28,000 lbs.

UNC Chapel Hill’s provides its students with a waste reduction and recycling guide, with a section that focuses on sustainable ways to move off campus.   Virginia Tech’s YTOSS? Program aims to reduce the waste that is discarded during student move-out. Items that are collected are cleaned up, stored, and sold at a fall sale during campus move-in.

In its 14th year, Purdue University’s Project Move Out allows students to donate items they no longer use such as food, clothing, electronics, books, furniture and luggage to families and organizations in need.  Bowling Green State University’s When You Move Out, Don’t Throw It Out (WYMO), one of BGSU’s largest community service projects, benefits over two dozen charities annually, and hundreds of individuals, including local food pantries, shelters, service agencies, and non-profit organizations in need.   Wake Forest University’s’ Deacs Donate initiative tells students that the big green dumpsters in front of their residence halls should be the last container of choice to deposit unwanted items during campus move-out and provides more sustainable alternatives.

Find out if your campus offers a move-out campaign that reduces waste to landfills. Don’t have one? The 4 Simple Steps to Start a Move-out Waste Program is a blog that helps you to start a program on your campus. The blog is written by Alex Fried, a University of New Hampshire student who co-founded UNH’s Trash 2 Treasure.

Involved in a great move out program on your campus? Share it on NWF’s EcoLeaders community and earn recognition for your work!

Happy move out!

About the Author

sapna-batishSapna Batish is an NWF volunteer and is passionate about utilizing her interdisciplinary expertise in coastal science, remote sensing, climate science, and environmental policy to address ecological problems. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental science from the Ohio State University.  She loves living in northern Virginia, exploring the world, and finding places to eat great pasta.


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Published: May 19, 2014