Give It Up! is a program that enables students to donate their unwanted items at move-out time to local charities and non-profits, benefiting the local community and preventing waste. The campaign takes place from the beginning of Reading Period (prior to final exams) in mid-May through Commencement in early June. Large pods are placed in front of populated student dorms so students moving out can donate items instead of throwing them out. Student employees are vital to the success of this important program, as they sort, transport, deliver clothing, books, food and other items to local charities that would otherwise head to landfills.
GIU is led by the Center for Learning in Action (CLiA) and is supported by the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives (paying for student labor) and Facilities (paying for the storage “pods”), and logistical support from Campus Safety & Security (CSS), the Office for Information Technology (OIT) and Alumni Reunions (assigning “Reunion Rangers” to assist with the intense move-out period on Commencement Day).
This campaign creates multiple “wins” for the college, students, community and environment by reducing the volume of items left in the dorms and the amount of waste generated during the move-out process, while giving students a convenient way to donate their belongings, all while financially benefiting small local nonprofits. The last “win” of this reuse/recycle program benefits incoming Williams students in the early fall, when the clothing and tag sales at the FCC offer students (and community members) access to needed items at very affordable prices.
- Find donation pod in your neighborhood, or ask a Give it Up student employee to help you sort
- Donate as early as possible to minimize stress while moving out
The Give it Up! pods will be up from the start date until students are required to move out. For the end of the 2018-2019 academic school year, pods will be located in the following areas beginning on the following dates:
- Frosh Quad
- Mission Park
- Greylock Quad
- Currier Quad
- Horn Hall
- Poker Flats
- School supplies
- Unopened food and drink
- Household items, furniture, microwaves and fridges
- Clothes, shoes, footwear
- Printers, TVs, laptops, computer accessories (in any condition)
- Sports equipment
- Musical instruments
- Bedding, towels
- Body care products
- Detergent, dryer sheets, cleaning supplies
- Flower/plant pots or containers
- Foam mattress toppers
- Course packets (recycle these!)
- Bed pillows in bad condition
- Broken items and trash
- Open or perishable food (give to your friends!)
Books go to the Nyanam International (formerly Konyango CBO), which was started by Jackline Odhiambo ‘14, Bethany Dixon ‘15, Adriana Mendoza ‘12, and Sara Lyon ‘13 in January of 2012. It is based in Jackline’s home village, Konyango, in Kenya, and focuses on literacy and education of schoolchildren, as well as leadership and self-organizing training for widows in the area.
Clothing and fabrics are given to the ABC Clothing Sale, which donates its profits to local charitable and non-profit organizations, including the Berkshire Immigrant Center, Louison House, Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, and the Williamstown Food Pantry. Its mission is to benefit local charitable organizations that serve youth and families at risk and address hunger, poverty, and inequality in our communities, as well as the environment by recycling gently worn clothing. Look for the ABC Clothing Sale on campus in the spring!
Food is sent to the Williamstown Food Pantry, which is based out of St. Patrick’s Church in Williamstown. The pantry serves the local population in need.
Everything else is sent to the First Congregational Church of Williamstown for their beginning-of-the-school-year Tag Sale. The sale keeps used goods circulating in the community, and raises money for the church in its largest fundraiser of the year.
The estimated value of goods (tag sale items, clothing and books) collected in the 2017 campaign of GIU was over $60,000. Proceeds from the ~$37,000 raised by the ABC Clothing Sale benefited a range of local charitable organizations, including Louison House, Elizabeth Freeman Center, ROOTS Teen Center, Kids 4 Harmony, Friendship Center Food Pantry and Williamstown Food Pantry.
Environmental impact metrics from the books resold or recycled by Better World Books between May 2017 and August 2018 report the following totals collected and saved through recycled/post-consumer fiber production:
- Over 5,200 books (~7,200 lbs)
- 85 trees
- Over 50,000 gallons of water
- Over 11,000 lbs of methane and greenhouse gases
- 11 cubic yards of landfill space
- Over 17,000 kWh of electricity