Putting Waste to Work: Wellesley College Sponsors
Earth-Friendly Ideas for End-of-Year Moving Day

May 6, 2010

CONTACT: Molly Tarantino
mtaranti@wellesley.edu; 781-283-2901

WELLESLEY, Mass.— As a student at Wellesley College, Yi Zhang was amazed by the amount of waste left behind as students moved out of residence halls at the end of every year.

What can be donated & where to put the items:

Clothing and shoes
Place in the clear plastic bags by the orange bins on campus.

Books/school supplies, small household items and functioning electronics
Place in the orange bins marked “Small Reusable Items.”

Furniture, lamps, rugs, fridges and other large items
Place on the ground near the orange bins.

Pick up a bike donation sticker from resident directors. Sign it and place it around the post of your bike seat. You can continue to use your bike until the end of commencement.

“There was always the ‘free pile’ in my dorms, but I never knew here it all went — I secretly hoped that it wasn’t just thrown away,” she said.

Since graduating in December, Zhang has been working with Patrick Willoughby, director of sustainability at Wellesley, to turn her hope of preventing moving day waste into a reality.

This year Wellesley will hold its first “Sustainable-Move Out.” From exam reading period until commencement, students can donate reusable items at marked locations in their residence halls. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes, "The traditional definition of sustainability calls for policies and strategies that meet society’s present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

With that goal in mind, clothing and shoes, small items — books, school supplies, small electronics and household items — and larger items like lamps, rugs, fridges, furniture and bikes – will all be collected. Information on recycling and disposing of unwanted food, toiletries and broken items will be posted in residence halls.

Clothing and shoes will be donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to support their programs. Small and large household items will be resold at an on-campus rummage sale in the fall to raise funds to support sustainability projects on campus. Donated bicycles will be sold at the sale, or become part of the college’s earth-friendly communal bicycle program.

“We'd like to capture as many pounds of reusable items from the waste stream as possible,” said Jessica Hunter, environmental studies program coordinator at Wellesley. “The end-of-year move-out can be a hectic time of year, but we're hoping that students get excited about this idea and take the time to donate their gently used items for these great causes.”

The “Sustainable Move-Out” will reduce waste and serve as a resource to students who can benefit from the fall rummage sale, Zhang said.

“We can't forget that creating waste has social justice implications,” she added. “This initiative is a good attempt at addressing the environmental and social issues behind our activities and I hope that it will become a permanent part of the college.”

For more information on the program, contact Zhang at yzhang2@wellesley.edu . For more information on Wellesley’s sustainability efforts, visit www.wellesley.edu/AdminandPlanning/Sustainability/index.html

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world.  Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries.