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Share Our Stuff: An Initiative to Minimize Waste

As the semester ends, students pack up their St. Louis homes and transition to summer experiences. With only so much space in the car or storage unit, many belongings become available for new uses and new owners. Thanks to the Share Our Stuff Initiative, a tremendous amount of usable goods are diverted from the landfill, for use by others within the campus community and beyond.

Established in 2010, Share Our Stuff is a university-wide effort designed to make it easy for all students to donate unwanted items through a massive collection drive for both on and off-campus housing.

How Does it Work?

On May 1st, collection bins become available on the first floor or basement of every on-campus residential building. Each bin is labeled to collect specific items. Simply sort your materials and they will be donated to a variety of organizations that will extend the useful life of unwanted items. 

Graduating seniors and WashU students living in off-campus apartments can also donate unwanted goods during Lightening Your Load, the off-campus collection event that takes place on Saturday, May 19 from 12p – 2p. You can find more information here on Lightening Your Load, including when and where to donate unwanted household items if you live off-campus.

What to Donate?

Accepted materials include:

  • Appliances and electronics
  • Books
  • Clean clothing and linens
  • Office supplies
  • Furniture and furnishings
  • Plastic drawers, shelving, and storage
  • Small and large household items
  • Unopened, nonperishable food (on-campus collection only)
  • Unopened toiletries (collection points at Office of Sustainability and SWAP storefront only!)

Most of the collected items are donated to various organizations in the St. Louis area, including Goodwill, Operation Food Search, Campus Y, and more. A portion of the donations is stored by Sharing With A Purpose (SWAP), a student-owned non-profit organization, to be placed at the Trading Post storefront or sold during “Sale on the Swamp,” the annual move-in sale that takes place the following fall. Click here for more information about each benefiting organization.

Get Involved!

Help save over 7,000 pounds of appliances, storage bins, shelves, books, and more from landfills by helping with SWAP’s May collections! Volunteers are needed May 9 – 18 (especially May 10-13) to collect and store the donated materials. Here is a short video about the mission of SWAP.

Volunteers will receive a t-shirt, lunch/snacks every day, and a generous gift card for every 3-hour shift. This is the opportunity to make a sizeable sustainable impact on the WashU campus in just a small fraction of your time! In addition, you will get the chance to meet the SWAP community and learn more about the organization. Fill out this Google form to sign up!

The Share Our Stuff initiative is made possible through the collaboration of many campus partners, including Sharing With A Purpose (SWAP), Residential Life, the Office of Sustainability, Quadrangle Housing, Facilities Planning and Management, WFF, Environmental Health and Safety, the Campus Book Store, the Community Service Office, the Office of Government and Community Relations, and Neighborhood C.A.R.E.S.