As 1,100 students moved out of Portland State residence halls at the end of spring term, University Housing and Residence Life (UHRL) and the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO) jointly hosted Chuck It for Charity, a program that aims to divert usable goods away from the landfill, and into the hands of people who need them.
More than two tons of clothing and household items were donated to The ARC, a community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Nonperishable food was also collected and donated to the ASPSU Food Pantry to help needy students and their families. The donated items would likely have been trashed and ended up in the landfill if they had not been collected during Chuck It.
An additional 103 pounds of electronic waste was collected by PSU Environmental Health and Safety, and sent to Garten Services in Salem for reuse or recycling.
PSU staff stationed donation bins in the most populated residence hall lobbies: Broadway, Ondine, Epler, and Montgomery, and information encouraging donations was included in move-out emails sent to students from URHL. The program team hopes to station collection bins in all residence halls next year, as well as implement a monitored furniture donation station.
“Spring move out is one of the largest events for UHRL, and Chuck It for Charity is a program that would not happen if it was not for the dedicated staff from Facilities, UHRL, and Campus Sustainability,” said Christina Shafer, assistant director of residential education for UHRL.
Reusing items not only reduces campus waste, contributing to PSU's sustainability goals, but also supports the needs of local charities. From resource extraction and production, to distribution and disposal, the entire lifecycle of an average product has a huge environmental footprint. By choosing durable goods and reusing existing products, we can greatly minimize impacts on our environment as well as save money.