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Share our Stuff: WashU’s Impact on the Greater Community

This summer the Office of Sustainability celebrated the 12th anniversary of the move out donation program, which includes both Share Our Stuff (SOS) and Lighten Your Load (LYL) programs at WashU. Partners like Residential Life, The Office of Government and Community Relations, and Quadrangle Housing provide students with an outlet to engage in sustainable practices on campus by offering an opportunity to discard unwanted dorm and apartment belongings and redistribute them to the campus community and to nonprofits around the region.

If you are a student that is stuck with unwanted but usable items when moving out of your housing, then the Share Our Stuff (SOS) and Lighten Your Load (LYL) programs could be perfect for you! These are annual, university-wide move-out donation events that can benefit the community while also keeping usable goods out of landfills around the city.

Once items were collected by Residential Living Housekeeping, WFF and Quadrangle, interns and staff from the Office of Sustainability team got to work sorting through the collection and recruiting organizations to come take what they could put to use. From mattresses and mini fridges to ramen packets and hand sanitizer, the range of donated items was vast. Clothes were piled high and textbooks lined the walls as they waited to be sorted by the fearless team.

“At first there was an overwhelming amount of items,” says Melena Braggs, an intern with the Office of Sustainability, “so I was happy to see all the different people and organizations the items went to.” Representatives from 36 non-profit organizations from all around the St. Louis area signed up for 83 appointment slots over the 2 month period, many coming back multiple times as materials continued to flow in. Our guests were excited to see what students left behind, and they drove off in vehicles filled to the brim with donations.

Office of Sustainability intern, Melena Braggs, assists a Goodwill representative in carting out donated items.

The SOS event occurred in two different locations, one in the South 40 and one on North Campus. On the South 40, the donations were smaller items like books, non-perishable food items and mini fridges, but the North Campus location was home to the large pieces of donated furniture, as well as smaller items. The North Campus location is also where the LYL event took place, a large storage garage filled with donated mattresses, sofas, and desks. After nearly a month of donation drop-offs and pick-ups, the SOS events came to an end, and leftovers were taken to larger organizations that accept donated items, like Goodwill.

Being a part of a major donation event like this is a rewarding experience. Seeing unwanted items gain new life is exciting and knowing that WashU has continued to enforce these sustainable practices is even more reason to celebrate. “I really enjoy participating in these programs!” exclaims Melena as she reflects on her experience at the SOS events, “I definitely see myself using these programs in the future!”

For more information on WashU’s Share Our Stuff and Lighten Your Load events, visit this link.