Sustainable Move-Out returns to residence halls this spring

The Sustainable Move-Out initiative by the Office of Sustainability relies heavily on students. (Courtesy of Ed Brennan/University Relations)

Nisa Holley
Connector Staff

Ditch the Dumpster; the Office of Sustainability will once again launch its Sustainable Move-Out initiative this spring to all on-campus residence halls. Now on its fifth year, the Move-Out program team is looking for volunteers to help with the collection, sorting and donation of material to various local non-profit organizations within the Greater Lowell Community.

UMass Lowell began its first sustainable donation diversion drive in 2014 collecting 3,400 pounds of material. The purpose of the Sustainable Move-Out is to reduce the amount of waste, many of us find no use in old items and immediately think to throw it away.

Aside from providing jobs and education to the community, UMass Lowell has served to aide the needs of members of the community through the Move Out initiative. Some of the organizations that the Move-Out initiative has served in the past include: Lowell Humane Society, The Wish Project, St Vincent’s De Paul, Catie’s Closet, UTEC and UMass Lowell’s Navigators Food Pantry.

“Our donations to the non-profits… have impacted families and animals in need in ways that the non-profits themselves couldn’t do. Through this program, we have diverted over 20,000 pounds of items that may have ended up in a landfill. Those 20,000 pounds of usable materials/items became resources that our Greater Lowell community didn’t have access to if it wasn’t for UMass Lowell’s Move Out Program,” said Pamela Beckwith, environmental & sustainability waste management coordinator.

Student involvement in the program is needed and highly encouraged for the program to be a success. Students can get involved by sorting the estimated more than 14,000 pounds of donated items, which are collected in carts that will be deployed in each residence hall starting April 30.

“The strength of the Move Out Program is dependent on students- starting when students are moving out of their residence halls and deciding how to sort the things they don’t want. We are asking every student to properly sort their items as they are moving out,” said Beckwith.

There is not a long list of restricted items, so come out and donate. Move Out is looking for any clean clothing (unworn underwear in packages and bras may be donated as well), cleaning supplies, furniture, sealed food packages, books, school and office supplies, electronics, bedding, towels and unused toiletries. Anything a student would have deemed a necessity for their dorm, may be the very thing someone in our community is lacking. Why throw it in the trash, when students can give it to someone who may not have access to it otherwise?   

The Move Out team and the nonprofits only ask that students do not donate any dirty or soiled clothing, open food containers, unpackaged food, fresh/raw food, rotten or past dated food and worn underpants. Just be mindful of the things you would not want to be given to you.

From May 8 to May 21, teams of student volunteers bring the items to South Campus’s Broadway/Riverview Lot to be sorted into various categories. According to Beckwith, volunteering in Move-Out is a great opportunity to do one last meaningful activity with students’ group of friends and even meet new people for the start of next semester.

To further the fact that this is a team effort, Beckwith emphasized the Office of Sustainability’s tremendous partnership with Karina Cruz from Transportation Services as well as Joy Schmelzer from the Office of Residence Life and their respective teams, making it possible to garner support throughout this university-wide initiative.

“Seeing our UMass Lowell community rally together and support this is very meaningful and powerful to me.  It shows that a little effort of making a donation can go a long way,” said Beckwith.

The Move-Out program is in desperate need for volunteers. All students who volunteer for any three hour period between May 8 to May 21 will be entered into a raffle for gift cards and other prizes. In addition, students in the Honors College can use this as their E1 requirement for the semester, while students in Club Sports can earn $5 per hour toward their team.

To sign-up for a shift, please visit or contact Andre Ragel, Move-Out Coordinator at

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