‘Pack it, Store it, Donate it’ program to continue after successful pilot

Samantha Ye

OnSpec Video

After a successful first year, Colorado State University will be officializing their move-out homeless donations program — though under a new name.

Ad

Previously called “Take It Or Leave It,” the renamed program “Pack it, Store it, Donate it” is the education and donation program for those moving out of the dorms at the end of the year.

Students are encouraged to either pack their belongings to take with them, store certain goods with CSU’s storage options or donate unwanted items to agencies for homeless populations.

The program’s educational component recommends students reuse, buy secondhand or rent items instead of always purchasing them new.

In the past, CSU sold items left behind in a massive tent sale. The proceeds went back to the Eco Leaders, a peer education program in the residence halls, and Aggie Village, who encourage environmentally-responsible behaviors.

Over time, however, Sustainability Coordinator for Housing & Dining Services Kirstie Tedrick said the sale grew too huge to be manageable. So, they looked for a small-scale program that would still divert the same amount of material from the landfill.

Ultimately, the Eco Leaders came up with the idea to donate 100% of the material back into the community, Tedrick said.

The University piloted the program in spring 2018. Over 32,000 pounds of product valued at $235,000 were donated and distributed to 50 different organizations around the state, program directors estimated.

“We got so much positive feedback,” Tedrick said. “It was very heartwarming to see all the nonprofits and charities come through … and I bet this year we’ll have even more participate.”

Pilot program first-year:
32,000 pounds of donated materials
Total donation value of $235,000
50 organizations across the state benefited

This year, the program will continue much the same way, albeit with some different marketing. CSU will again partner with Homeward Alliance, a local agency specializing in homelessness resources and prevention.

Homeward Alliance helps collect, sort and distribute the donated material through a network of agencies, all of which also support communities experiencing or that have recently experienced homelessness, said David Rout, program director. The donations are first distributed locally and then to outside agencies.

Ad

“Just being able to collect such a huge amount of supplies in a short period of time that are literally life-saving for the people we serve, but also (making) sure that products that are perfectly usable are not getting wasted and the environmental impact of a thing like this can be substantial,” Rout said.

Even a small donation helps a person’s journey toward escaping homelessness and achieving stability, Rout said. Homeward Alliance alone serves about 5,000 people, but once the other agencies who are benefiting from the donations are factored in, CSU’s impact is enormous, Rout said.

map of donation truck locations
In the “Pack it, Store it, Donate it” move-out program, students moving out of the residence halls can donate their unwanted supplies to nonprofits and charities. Different collection trucks will be stationed around residence halls from May 13-17. (Image courtesy of Kirstie Tedrick)

Many of last year’s donations were high quality, with much of it being clothes, Tedrick said. Supplies such as warm outerwear, backpacks and other outdoor gear were especially impactful. The program will also accept household appliances and other essentials like cleaning supplies. They will not accept large furniture such as futons or anything made of glass.

This year, students can bring their unwanted supplies that are still in good condition to different collection trucks stationed around residence halls during finals week.

Eco Leaders will help staff the trucks during limited hours, but anyone can volunteer to help organize the items. Sign-up is available online.

Tedrick said they expect the donations will increase from last year. While part of the program is educating students to be aware of how much they buy in the first place, increasing enrollments means the amount left behind steadily increases every year, Tedrick said.

Although Tedrick would love to see that amount drop for sustainability reasons, she said it is still amazing to be able to give back to the community.

“The shift to donating everything that we collect — it’s just such an amazing thing to see all these nonprofits and charities come and pick up and how appreciative they are,” Tedrick said. “It makes you very happy to be able to contribute like that, especially for the sheer amount of material that you get.”

Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.