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Green Team brings sustainable practices to campus move out

Moving out of your dorm can be chaotic. With so much stuff to organize and pack, students throw out many items in good condition each year. Luckily, Pacific’s Green Team works hard to repurpose these items to make campus move out more sustainable.

Reducing waste and doing good

Every year in the weeks leading up to Commencement, Green Team works with Sustaining Pacific staff to collect unwanted items from students as they move out. The volunteers place donation boxes near each residential hall on campus. Then, they sort the collected items to redistribute them to community members in need.

“If you don’t have a place to put things and you don’t have any space in your car when you’re moving out, it has to go somewhere,” said Sustaining Pacific Engagement Manager Kelsey Smith. “So we do our part to get some of those items recirculated back into the community. It’s either going to go in a box where things can get donated, or it’s going to go in the trash.”

This year, the volunteers and staff collected, sorted, weighed and distributed over 2,300 pounds of donations to local nonprofits, including St. Mary’s Dining Room, Stockton Shelter for the Homeless and Harvest Animal Sanctuary.

Sustaining Pacific works closely with each organization to determine what donations they need. Then, they sell the remaining items at an on-campus rummage sale to fund the program next year.

“The purpose of the sale is just to be able to keep the program going so that we can cover the costs of boxes, the rental van and the student staff. Ninety-five percent of what we collect gets donated,” explained Smith. 

Creating student sustainability leaders

Smith says the Green Move Out program inspires the student volunteers who take part.

“They help to load up the trucks of the organizations that come through to pick up and really see that impact,” she said. “A lot of those volunteers end up coming back year after year until they graduate, sometimes even after they graduate.”

Bibi Hajirah ’24, a mathematics major, described volunteering at Green Move Out as a “wake-up call.”  

“I learned that as a society we often tend to waste a lot of things that could still be useful to others,” she said. “We helped save hundreds of pounds of good quality items that would have otherwise gone to the dumpster. Seeing firsthand the impact that we had was awesome.”

Hajirah hopes that more students are inspired to promote sustainability on campus. “I would definitely volunteer again and encourage other to do the same,” she said. “We should all work towards being a little less wasteful and do our part in reducing our carbon footprint.”

Green Move In program coming soon

The program will continue as Green Move In this August, when students move back to campus for the fall semester. The Green Team will be present during move in to help students sort and recycle their packing waste.

Sustaining Pacific will provide sustainability tips this summer as you prepare to move to campus. Keep an eye on their Instagram @sustainingpacific16.

Learn more about Pacific’s commitment toward a sustainable future.

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