The University of Michigan has donated more than 12.5 tons of clothing, bedding, household goods and food that students leave behind at the end of the school year to local organizations.
The university says the Student Move-Out Donation Program, over more than 25 years, has collected reusable items from residence halls on the Ann Arbor campus instead of sending them to the landfill.
This year’s collection marked one of the highest donation amounts in the program’s history, which has collected more than 264 tons of goods since 1993.
“The program is a great way for students moving out of residence halls to donate items they no longer need while keeping material out of the landfill,” says Alison Richardson, recycling coordinator at the Office of Campus Sustainability and organizer of the program. “All of these items then go to benefit individuals and nonprofit groups in the local community.”
Items were donated this year to Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop, Ann Arbor Thrift Shop, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, Food Gatherers and Salvation Army
Each year, yellow collection boxes are set up in the residence halls for students to donate items they no longer need. Those range from food, shoes and clothing to toiletries and household items, including cooking utensils and small appliances.
The universitiy's Waste Management Services then picks up the items to be sorted before they are donated to local organizations.
Clothing was the top item donated—nearly 5 tons, followed by bedding (3.89 tons) and household items (2.43 tons).
New this year, a group of sustainability-minded students called the Planet Blue Student Leaders hosted an off-campus, curbside donation collection in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. Their program, UMove-Out, resulted in nearly 600 items collected from off-campus student residences and donated to Goodwill.
“We found disconnects between the sustainability resources available to students in the residential communities on-campus and the perceived lack of comparable resources in off-campus neighborhoods,” said Crede Strauser, one of the organizers of UMove-Out and undergraduate student at the Ross School of Business.
“For us, that meant providing nearly the same level of convenience as the alternative of putting items out with trash. By partnering with Goodwill, southeast Michigan communities will gain access to quality furniture, clothing and more at affordable prices.”
Both the Move-Out Donation program and the UMove-Out program are part of the university’s commitment to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by 40% by 2025.