Who: Students in residence halls
What: Visit the E-Center website for guidelines on acceptable donations
When: Now through May 12 (Bear Creek apartments go until May 15)
Where: Look for a Give-n-Go station in your lobby or common area
It's move-out time: What are you planning to do with all the stuff you've accumulated over the last nine months?
For more than two decades, CU Boulder's recycling partnership has coordinated the Give-n-Go Donation Drive at move out. A long-standing collaboration between Housing & Dining Services and the Environmental Center, Give-n-Go offers students in the residence halls an alternative to hauling off or throwing out extra belongings.
“Most of what we see brought in during move-in in August ends up in the donation bins at move out,” said Rayna Oliker, sustainability coordinator for Housing & Dining Services.
In 2016, Give-n-Go diverted 27.69 tons of waste (55,280 pounds, roughly the weight of five elephants) from landfills by providing recycling and donation options for students who no longer saw a need for an item, which can include lamps, linens, clothing, furniture, electronics, mirrors and fans.
"The donation drive is truly a campuswide effort involving help from not only Housing & Dining Services Residence Life and the E-Center, but also Facilities Management and Housing Facilities who provide a ton of logistical support in planning, as well as ensuring the trash and recycling are picked up as often as possible," said Oliker.
Although the drive has diverted double-digit tons of items from trash waste, there is still more work to be done and support needed from students. In 2014, it’s estimated more than 100 tons ended up in landfill.
The demand to divert so much waste may stem, in part, from unnecessary purchasing of goods at the beginning of the year.
"A lot of the items we receive are almost brand new, and some even still have tags on them—most purchased just eight months previously. I think if we can help our students realize in advance that they don’t need a lot of what they buy in that first couple weeks, we’ll be taking a huge step toward limiting the amount that gets thrown away each May," Oliker said.
This year, The Salvation Army is the contracted service provider to collect, sort and distribute the donated reusables. Give-n-Go also collects non-perishable food items and personal care items for Emergency Family Assistance. Last year, 2,258 pounds of non-perishable food and 1,128 pounds of personal care items were donated, in addition to $144 in spare change.
For students off campus, the E-Center offers a list of recommended thrift stores to use instead of throwing out goods.
"Every year we work to streamline the process and get better at advertising to students and encouraging them to donate," said Oliker. "It’s always incredible to see how much we are able to prevent from being thrown out, and to know that we’re getting those things to people who really need them."
Students who reside off campus can also visit the Environmental Center website for donation options.