Donate Your Old Clothes, Housewares during Move-Out
Sustainability initiative Goodwill, Not Landfill honors BU alum founder
Are you stressing about how you will lug a winter coat, boots, and a dozen sweaters across the country for that new job you just took? Are you moving in with new roommates and have extra coffeepots, glasses, or dishes? You can give these extra items a second life by donating them to a Boston area nonprofit, thanks to BU Sustainability’s Goodwill, Not Landfill initiative, which benefits Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries.
The program diverts student belongings from landfills to promote sustainability, while also giving someone else the opportunity to find use in clothes, appliances, and household goods. Through May 23, students can donate clothing, shoes, housewares, decorations, kitchenware, and small appliances. New this year, students can also donate towels and bedding, including mattresses, mattress pads, blankets, pillows, and sheets. Find a full list of items here. Donation bins are located in every major residence hall, plus at 518 Park Dr. on South Campus and 890 and 1019 Commonwealth Ave.
“We’re making a connection to students’ well-being, in that your well-being is not just tied to your coursework or the student organizations you’re a part of or the job you may have,” says Lisa Tornatore (CAS’02), director of BU Sustainability. “Your well-being is tied to how well you can contribute to your community. It’s also tied to knowing you’re doing something good for the environment, as well as providing excellent resources to folks in the Greater Boston area through Goodwill services and programs.”
Goodwill was founded in 1902 in the Boston area by Reverend Edgar J. Helms (STH 1893). Students piling tons of goods into donation bins in their residence halls is a far cry from Helms going door-to-door searching for donations—according to his official Goodwill bio—to help a South Boston mission in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The program saw 754 tons (over 1.6 million pounds) of items donated to Boston’s Goodwill between 2009 and 2019, according to the Goodwill, Not Landfill website. James Harder, director of Goodwill’s communications and public affairs, says the donated items are sold in stores and the proceeds help the company run social programs that help find jobs for people with barriers to employment. Specifically, it funds Goodwill’s career center and workforce development program.
Harder says Goodwill values its relationship with BU, because beyond the Goodwill, Not Landfill initiative, the nonprofit also works with the College of Communication’s student-run PRLab every semester. He adds that other Goodwill organizations across the country and beyond have looked at Goodwill, Not Landfill as a model for similar donation drives.
“The program we have here at BU is quite unique. Many universities have move-out donation programs, but they’re typically centrally located in a couple of locations on their campuses, not in the residence halls,” Tornatore says. “Our program makes it super easy and convenient to donate clothing and household items over a period of time, rather than on the last day of the Move-out period.”
BU works closely with Goodwill to improve the initiative each year, which Tornatore says is a sign of how much Goodwill appreciates the program. The placement of the bins and signs is intentional, so that students see the option to donate for a few weeks before Move-out.
“It’s an outlet for students to do something good with the community,” Tornatore says. “Goodwill Boston started as a seedling idea here at BU, much like the projects coming out of the BUild Lab today. It developed into this amazing nonprofit organization, and we are proud to bring it back home to BU year after year.”
Goodwill, Not Landfill bins are located in Danielsen Hall, Myles Standish Hall, Kilachand Hall, The Towers, Warren Towers, Student Village I, Student Village II, Claflin Hall, Sleeper Hall, and Rich Hall, and at 518 Park Dr., 890 Commonwealth Ave., and 1019 Commonwealth Ave. Donations of clothing, shoes, decorations, bedding (including mattresses, mattress pads, blankets, pillows, sheets), towels, kitchenware, housewares, and small appliances are accepted.