Give it Up!

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 reducing waste at the same time.

The program, led by the Center for Learning in Action, takes place from the beginning of Reading Period  in mid-May through Commencement in early June. Large pods are placed in front of student dorms so students moving out can donate items instead of throwing them out. The success of this program also greatly depends on student employees, as they sort, transport, and deliver donated clothing, books, food, and other items that would otherwise head to landfills.

  • Give it Up! is led by the Center for Learning in Action (CLiA) and supported by the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, Facilities which pays for the storage pods, Campus Safety & Security (CSS) which provides logistical support, the Office for Information Technology (OIT), and Alumni Reunions which assigns Reunion Rangers to assist with the intense move-out period on Commencement Day.

    The program creates multiple simultaneous wins for the college, students, community, and environment. Give it Up! helps reduce the volume of items left in the dorms and the amount of waste generated during the move-out process by giving students a convenient way to donate their belongings, all while financially benefiting local nonprofits. Because many of the donated items are sold in the clothing and tag sales at the First Congregational Church in the fall, Give it Up! also benefits incoming Williams students during the move-in process in the fall, offering students and community members access to useful items at very affordable prices.

  • TIP: Donate as early as possible to minimize stress while moving out!

    1. Find a pod near you (see below)
    2. Look for the logo, which will be on a white Connors Bros storage pod, which indicates it is a GIU! pod that can accept donations.
    3. Leave your donation items in the pod, or find a Give it Up! volunteer if you need assistance!
  • For the end of the 2023-2024 academic school year, students will be able to donate to the pods located through the following dates in the following areas:

    Saturday, May 11th – Monday, May 27th

    • Frosh Quad
    • Mission Park

    Saturday, May 11th – Monday June 3rd

    • Dodd Circle
    • Greylock Quad
    • Currier Quad
    • Morgan/Jesup
    • Horn Hall
    • Spencer/Brooks
    • Perry
    • Tyler
    • Wood
    • Agard
    • Woodbridge

    Tuesday May 28th – Monday June 3rd

    • Poker Flats
    • Doughty
    • Books
    • School supplies
    • Knick-knacks
    • Games
    • 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!)
    • Mattresses
  • Community partners are the First Congregational Church (FCC) and ABC Clothing Sale (who include these collected goods with all their other donations in their annual sales to benefit local charities), as well as the Williamstown Food Pantry.

    The donated books are collected at St. John's Episcopal Church, which graciously offers the use of their space for this purpose over a period of several weeks. From there, they are donated to Chapter Two Books (a local non-profit used bookstore whose proceeds benefit the town's Milne Public Library), bought back by the Williams Bookstore, and shipped to Better World Books for
    resale or recycling.

    Proceeds from the Williams Bookstore buyback and Better World Books sales commissions benefit Nyanam Widows Rising in Kenya, an NGO founded by recent Williams alumni to prepare widows to lead positive social changes in their communities through leadership development, economic empowerment, and community engagement.

    This campaign creates multiple "wins" for the college, students, community and environment by reducing the volume of items left in the dorms, the amount of waste generated during the move-out process, and keeps used goods circulating in the community, while giving students a convenient way to donate their belongings, all while financially benefiting small local nonprofits.

    The last "win" of this reuse/repurpose 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.

    In a typical year, donations from the GIU collection contribute substantially to the late summer and early fall FCC Tag Sale and ABC Clothing Sales results. The ABC Clothing Sale typically generates at least $20,000 in sales proceeds to benefit a range of local charitable and nonprofit organizations, and sales proceeds from the FCC Tag Sale support the church's Outreach Team and their projects, including financial support for a variety of local nonprofit and social service organizations and volunteer initiatives. Past recipients of funding from sales proceeds have included Barrington Stage Company (Playwright Mentoring Program), Berkshire Immigrant Center, Berkshire Summer Youth Internship Program, Community Legal Aid, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Friendship Center Food Pantry, Kids 4 Harmony (Brayton Elementary School), Louison House, Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Northern Berkshire YMCA, ROOTS Teen Center, Williamstown Farmers Market, Williamstown Food Pantry, and YMCA Summer Swim and 8th Grade Mentoring Programs, among others.

    Though no estimate of their value is available, it is clear that donations from the GIU collection in 2021 contributed substantially to the late summer and early fall FCC Tag Sale's and ongoing ABC Clothing Sale's results. In 2021, the ABC Clothing Sale donated $22,500 in sales proceeds to benefit a range of local charitable and non-profit organizations, including Barrington Stage Company's Playwright Mentoring Project, North Berkshire Youth Summer Internship Program, Community Legal Aid, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry, Kids 4 Harmony at Brayton Elementary School, Louison House, ROOTS Teen Center, Williamstown Food Pantry, and the Berkshire Immigrant Center. $5,800 in proceeds from the FCC's "dorm essentials" and other smaller sales supported the Elizabeth Freeman Center and Louison House, both of which also received the personal care products that were collected, as well as the Berkshire Immigrant Center. Bedding and towels were donated to Louison House and Goodwill, and a large amount of non-perishable food was donated to the Williamstown Food Pantry and South Community Food Pantry in Pittsfield.*

    *2021-2022 CLiA Chronicle

  • GIU collected and shipped 96 boxes of donated books to Better World Books during the Spring 2022 collection. For the first time, Chapter Two Books was invited to review the book collection at St. John's before they were packed, and was delighted to be able to take another 30 boxes worth of books to be sold in their store, thus matching GIU's previous pre-pandemic record of 126 total boxes of books. Books bought back by the Williams Bookstore and sold or recycled by Better World Books between December 2021 and November 20225 have so far raised over $1,300 for Nyanam International, and have collected and saved the following totals through recycled/post-consumer fiber production:
    ● Over 2,200 books (~3,000 lbs)
    ● 36 trees
    ● Over 4,700 lbs of methane and greenhouse gas
    ● Over 23,000 gallons of water
    ● 4 cubic yards of landfill space
    ● Over 7,400 kWh of electricity