Students give back during move-out, with a key assist from local community members

Center for Civic Engagement's Give & GO initiative redirects reusable items to local community organizations.

As the rain came down on Sunday, May 22 during the final hours of Pacific University’s residence hall move-outs, volunteers scrambled to salvage what they could from being tossed into the giant dumpsters.
Thanks to student volunteers, parents and residents of Washington County who participated in the University's Give & GO donation program, more than 50 truckloads of usable items - everything from packaged food and clothing to electronics and housewares - found their way to 13 non-profit community organizations.

Parents of student residents moving out got their fair share of exercise by hauling boxes, bags, furniture, and an assortment of dorm collectibles to a humble donation site behind Burlingham Hall.

Throughout the previous 10 days, students of all backgrounds took advantage of a container unit located between Walter & McCormick to redirect items they were finished with. Some needed to clear out their closets. Others dropped off kitchen supplies then left with an armload of books; and still others stopped by in hopes of finding a new outfit or desk lamps. Residents not affiliated with the University helped sort items and used their own vehicles to transport them to the accepting agencies.
It never ceases to amaze me the amount of useful items people part with, including random things students collect in their rooms. We sorted a lot of stuff: brand new clothes that still had their tags, quesadilla makers, DVD players, boxing gloves, cases of Ramen noodles and Li hing mui candy among other things. One person's trash can indeed be another's treasure.
Although Give & GO helped divert a wealth of usable items from landfills, there is still a serious need for more awareness and education around reducing consumption, reusing, and recycling.
While volunteering, senior Sierra McCartney helped chalk the campus to get the message out about donating items. She wrote next to one dumpster, "There is no 'away'," alluding to the fact that unwanted items do not simply disappear once they are out of sight. The thousands of plastic hangers, organizer units, mini-white boards, and dorm decorations we redirected take many generations before they begin to decompose in the landfill.
More initiatives like Give & GO can foster mindfulness throughout society to think about those less fortunate. This was a teachable moment for students who, entrenched in final exams and papers, might have otherwise found it easier to just throw stuff away when packing up. The volunteers, both within and outside the University community, helped this moment transpire.
This year's Give & Go was the University's most successful yet. We were able to spread the resources to 13 community organizations, including:

Local residents in need also benefited. One came by to collect household supplies and as she left said, “Thank you for this. You don’t understand, I’m starting all over from scratch, and what you’re doing is so helpful to me.”
To all of the volunteers who helped in this endeavor: THANK YOU, indeed!

Posted by Joe Lang ( on Jun 3, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Edited by Stephanie Haugen ( on Apr 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM

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