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College packing list: green edition

Are you ready to start packing for your new home? Pacific’s move-in weekend is around the corner, and we can’t wait to see you all on campus August 19-20, 2023.  

We know that packing for college can be a little bit challenging, especially when you are moving away from home for the first time. Luckily, Pacific’s residence halls are all fully furnished so you only have to worry about packing your everyday essentials. 

As you make your shopping lists and organize your boxes, don’t forget to also consider the environmental impact of your college move. In fact, did you know the average college student throws out 640 pounds of waste annually? (Planet Aid). To cut back on this number, you can start making sustainable choices now, before you even step foot on campus.  

In this video and blog post, we’ve rounded up our top tips for packing for college with sustainability in mind. Plus, our friends at Residential Life and Housing made a handy list of items that you can print and keep on hand while shopping or packing! We’ve gathered the highlights here, but you can download the full list of what to bring and what not bring when you join us on campus in a few short weeks.  

What to bring  


When packing up your closet, you don’t need to cram every t-shirt and sweater you own in your suitcase. Aim for enough clothes to last you for two weeks and leave your heavy winter clothes at home until you need them, if possible. This way, you’ll save closet space and reduce waste from unwanted garments ending up in the landfill.  


If you’re living in a dorm this semester, you’ll need twin XL size bedding. Try to steer clear of microtrends—pick out a style that you’ll like enough to use it for the next four years of college so you don’t have to throw anything out.  

You might also be tempted to buy a mattress pad for extra comfort but try sleeping on your bed for a few days before making the purchase. You might decide you sleep fine without! But if you do end up needing a mattress pad, make sure to get organic cotton instead of foam—these aren’t recyclable and can’t be donated.  


If you’re living in a residential hall, you’ll probably want to have a mini fridge for your room (apartments have a full-sized fridge included). However, make sure to check with your roommate to see what they’re bringing first—you’ll only need one fridge to share. If you’re stumped on what to say when you reach out, check out our previous blog post on how to contact your roommate!

Pro tip: bring a power strip with surge protector so you can keep your cords organized and easily turn off appliances to save energy! 


You’ll only need one or two sets of utensils, mugs and bowls. This will help you save space and you’ll have fewer dishes to wash. If you’re in an apartment, it’s once again a good idea to check in with your roommate so you don’t double or triple up on kitchen gadgets.  


Bring your own personal care items such as hair care, dental care and body care. Take some time to investigate plastic-free, low-waste and non-toxic options. You’d be surprised at how many great options are out there! 

What to leave behind  


At Pacific, your rooms are already furnished with all the essentials: a bed, mattress, desk and a chair. Before buying other furnishings, spend some time in your space and see what you have room for.  Remember, anything you bring in you’ll have to move out later, so it’s best to keep it simple!  

Tons of school supplies 

Wait until you get your class syllabi before buying notebooks and binders in bulk! You might discover you only need a handful of items to succeed in your courses for the semester.  

Pro-tip: There’s a supply station at the Wendell Phillips Center on campus that provides basic school supplies for free! Plus, during Week of Welcome, there will be a big school supply giveaway event where you can pick up everything from binders to pens to textbooks. Just stop by the DUC Walkway on Tuesday, August 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 


No need to buy a personal printer (and pay for ink and paper) for your dorm or apartment. Pacific has a low-cost printing service on campus! Printers are conveniently located in the library, the McCaffrey Center and several residential buildings, so you can stop in and print your essay on your way to class.   


Consider reducing your carbon footprint and leaving your car behind when coming to Pacific. Getting around the campus is much easier on foot, board or scooter than it is with a car. The Stockton area also offers a variety of public transportation options so you’ll be able to get around off-campus.  

Bottled water 

There are water refill stations all over campus, including in many of the residential halls and classroom buildings. If you don’t have one nearby, we encourage you to use a filter pitcher and keep it in your fridge. All you need is a trusty reusable bottle and you’ll be set for the whole year! See the map below to find the refill station closest to your residential building.  

Sustaining Pacific walking tour map highlighting water refill stations on campus

Inappropriate items 

Finally, don’t bring any illegal substances, open flames such as candles and incense, space heaters or weapons of any kind—these items are not allowed on campus. For a full list of prohibited items, see Residential Life and Housing’s what not bring list.  

Sustainable packing tips  

  1. Pack your things in sturdy, reusable totes that you can either store under your bed or send back with your family until it’s time to pack again. 
  2. Pack as though you were going backpacking, rather than packing like you’re going to lay down roots. Remember that move-out happens during busy finals week in spring, so the less you bring, the easier it will be to move out. Save yourself the stress by packing light and packing smart!
  3. Wait until a few days after arrival to determine what kitchen items and appliances you need so you don’t end up with things you have to throw out. There are tons of thrift stores within a couple miles of campus, and there are big box stores just down the road. 
  4. It’s also important to note that Pacific does not have a storage room, therefore, limiting the number of unnecessary objects you bring is ideal for a comfortable living space. 
  5. If you are worried that you might forget to bring something, don’t be! You can always have items mailed to you at Pacific’s Student Mail Services using the address below:

Your Name
Building and Room Number
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA 95211 

Happy packing, Tigers!  

For more information about what you should and shouldn’t bring with you to campus, feel free to call the Office of Residential Life and Housing at 209.946.2331 or email them at  

For campus resources and more information about sustainable living on campus, email, visit Pacific’s sustainability webpage or follow Sustaining Pacific on Instagram @sustaining_pacific.  

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