By: Hasnat Aslam ’27

Since its inception in 2008, Green Move Out has collected new and gently used items donated during move out by Lafayette College students. After years of grassroots efforts by students, faculty, and staff, this annual initiative is now organized by the Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Landis Center for Community Engagement.

“Instead of going to the trash or landfill, we collect these items and try to find new homes for them,” says Samantha Smith, sustainability outreach and engagement manager. This year, over 6,500 items collected through Green Move Out were donated to local nonprofits, brought to the West Ward Sale, and incorporated into the Campus Thrift Store.

As outlined in the College’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), Lafayette has set a goal to divert 60% of Lafayette’s waste away from landfills by 2035. Green Move Out is among several initiatives that are key to the success of meeting this goal, Smith says.

“We aim to create a circular model here on campus. Students may learn that they need certain items once they get to campus, so we offer used items through the Campus Thrift Store,” Smith says. “Then at the end of the year, when it’s time to move out, they might not want or need those items any more, or just simply cannot fit them into their luggage or cars. So we invite them to donate the items back to Green Move Out so they can stay in our local community, or go back to next year’s students who are likely in need of some of the very same items.”

West Ward Sale

The West Ward Sale, held on June 15 at Paxinosa Elementary School, offered affordable and accessible goods to the community, Smith says. In previous years, the sale took place on campus, but in 2022, and with the help of local partnerships, it shifted to the West Ward area to increase accessibility for the community.

Approximately 335 families shopped at the West Ward Sale, which featured 7,500 pounds of items such as kitchen supplies, furniture, rugs, clothing, and office supplies. Items were sold on a pay-what-you-can model, allowing community members to set the price that works for their budget at checkout. 

“There was a lot of organization involved to create an actual shopping experience for customers,” says Jacqueline Britton ’25, an economics and policy studies major, who serves as a circularity and zero waste sustainability impact fellow in the Office of Sustainability. During the sale, Britton worked the checkout, which, with four lines of checkout working simultaneously, was an intensive responsibility given shopping queues were nonstop for over an hour. 

Over 70% of the items brought to the sale were sold. Smith notes that proceeds offset costs for the annual Sustainability Summer Camp, coordinated by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with YMCA of Easton, Phillipsburg, & Vicinity; for sustaining operations of the campus thrift store; and for helping support the Green Move Out effort.

Before and after the sale, items were also donated to local nonprofits. In total, over 2,100 items were donated to 21 organizations.

A big lift

More than 125 Lafayette College faculty, staff, students, and local community members from 28 different departments and organizations volunteered,  contributing over 440 hours toward making the event possible.

Starting five weeks before the sale, volunteers collected items from across campus, sorted items, helped to transport them to Paxinosa, and then unpacked and arranged items for shoppers.

“This was a big community effort across different groups,” Smith says. “This initiative would not be possible without the support of many volunteers dedicating their time to make it a success.”

Related Stories

Categorized in: Featured News, News and Features, Students, Sustainability

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use basic HTML tags and attributes.