Published: May 22, 2023 By

Move-out donationsEach year, move-out produces tons of unwanted items headed for the landfill as students pack up to return home for the summer. CU Boulder implemented a solution to reduce waste and promote sustainability and generosity. Instead of trashing items, students participated in the Give & Go Donation Drive from April 26 through May 11.

Program success

This year, students were able to donate clothing, electronics, fans, lamps, mirrors, storage containers, non-perishable food, personal care products and other unwanted items. The food and personal care items were donated to the Buff Pantry, CU Boulder’s on-campus food pantry that supports students facing food insecurity. The Buff Pantry is part of the Basic Needs Center, which works to connect students to essential services and resources.

Last year, over 17 tons of donations were received during the Give & Go Donation Drive. The donations included one ton of food and personal care items and 16 tons of reusable items, including clothing and other goods. The program serves approximately 7,000 students in 26 residence halls, producing an average of five pounds of donations per student.

Program goals

The goal of the drive was to capture usable items in good and working condition to prevent those items from going to the landfill. The program aims to increase awareness and give students the opportunity to participate in local charity, contemplate responsible purchasing and decrease disposal of items that other individuals can use.

“The Environmental Center appreciates partnering with both CU Housing and the city of Boulder to help students responsibly get rid of the items they cannot take with them when it’s time to move out. This long-standing program has evolved over the years to make sure we can accept the most common materials and get them back into good use. It’s not just clothing, everything from toiletries and towels to clothes hangers and snow boots can be easily repurposed as students finish finals and leave for summer break,” said Marianne Martin, Environmental Center associate director.

Program history

CU Boulder has a rich history of promoting sustainability initiatives, including during student move-out. CU Recycling was formed in 1976, and a move-out donation program has been in place in some form since the 1980s. Over time, the program evolved and expanded. Today the Environmental Center partners with Housing, Residence Life, CU Recycling and Facilities Management to work with third-party donation centers to divert move-out waste. The donation centers and campus volunteers collect, sort and distribute the materials. The program continues to have outstanding results and support to promote sustainability in our campus community.

The Give & Go Donation Drive exemplifies how CU Boulder promotes sustainability initiatives. Learn more about our campus sustainability focus.