At the end of each academic year, students moving off college campuses cause landfill contributions to escalate. Residential and Hospitality Services at Michigan State University takes efforts to reduce the amount of waste through initiatives like Pack Up. Pitch In. Help Out.
By increasing the visibility and capacity of recycling options at busy times of year, RHS diverts copious materials from landfills. The division encourage students to pack up undesirable dorm room items and turn them into valuable resources.
This spring marked the 20th anniversary of the Pack Up. Pitch In. Help Out. program, and it was the most successful move-out collection of surplus clothing, food, personal care items and household items yet. RHS collected more than 900 pounds of personal care items and more than 4,000 pounds of nonperishable food items, a weight equal to about one and a half Spartan statues!
Donated items were distributed to several local organizations, including:
MSU Safe Place, a campus program that has provided emergency shelter, counseling, support groups and more to survivors of violence as well as their children in the Greater Lansing area. MSU Safe Place has been assisting the community and spreading awareness about relationship violence for more than twenty years.
MSU Student Food Bank, which provides food to MSU undergraduate students, graduate students and their families. Over the last year, the organization fed 6,000 food-insecure students and families. Director Nicole Edmonds thanks MSU for their donation, saying, “The summer donations from RHS are a tremendous help. Our clients appreciate our service so much, and we are able to maintain such success in part because of efforts like the donations from RHS.”
Hannah’s House, which helps homeless pregnant women prepare for motherhood by providing shelter, support, food, mentorship and more. It also provides family items such as baby clothes and diapers to mothers across the community. MSU’s donation helped stock the pantry for these expecting and new mothers living with Hannah’s House.
Salvation Army, where the items donated by MSU are available to those in great need on a pick-up basis. The charity noted that personal care items were especially important, as non-food items aren’t included in government SNAP (formally known as food stamps) benefits.
Haven House, an organization that supports homeless families in the Lansing area. MSU’s donation will go toward the shelter’s “Partners in Progress” program, which provides support to newly sheltered families and helps them find permanent living situations.
Greater Lansing Food Bank, an organization that provides emergency food to seven mid-Michigan counties. The Food Bank serves thousands of people each year, many of them children, families, veterans and seniors.
Pagans in Need Lansing, which provides local families with food, personal care items, clothing and more through its pantry and closet pick-up system. The organization also has a community garden in order to provide recipients with fresh, local produce.
This incredible accomplishment would not have been possible without the REHS team, students and volunteers who took the time to bring awareness to this need and made this year’s collections memorable.
RHS would like to extend special thanks to Cathy Lugbihl, Rachael Perez, Ashley Latinen and Emily Swirsky for jumping in and assisting in packing up 400 pounds of food to be donated. RHS also thanks the following students and volunteers who helped with move-out donations: Nick Barnes, Sarah Bolhm, Cole Gude, Abby Krause, Stephanie Marceau, Paulina Minnebo and Sondra Olin.
By valuing social responsibility and partnering with other organizations, RHS has made communal wealth out of what would have been landfill waste. The successful 2017 move-out donations are a shining example of MSU’s commitment to sustainability, charitable support and environmental stewardship on its own campus and beyond.
To learn more about Pack Up. Pitch In. Help Out. and the program’s 20-year anniversary, visit the Live On website at https://liveon.msu.edu/packup or contact through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.