Donation Dash Reduces Campus Waste

Morgan King, Cal Poly Humboldt’s Climate Action Analyst

Donation Station on the Cal Poly Humboldt Campus.

This past May, Cal Poly Humboldt’s Office of Sustainability and the Waste Reduction & Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) hosted Donation Dash, an annual event designed to reduce waste generated by students moving out of campus residence halls. 

“It takes a lot of hard work from a very dedicated group of students, staff and local organizations to pull this thing off,” says Morgan King, Cal Poly Humboldt’s Climate Action Analyst. “The effort pays off, though, in many ways. The campus reduces its landfill waste, local organizations get some great items for their thrift stores and fundraising, and residents get to be a part of the zero waste movement.” 

Donation Dash starts out at a trot but ends with a sprint to the finish. “We set bins out around campus before Finals Week to collect any reusable items from residents preparing to move out. We get everything from clothes to cases of Cup of Noodles,” says King. Meanwhile students with WRRAP launch a marketing and outreach campaign and recruit and train volunteers. 

During Finals Week, King sets up three Donation Stations on campus. Each station is hosted by a different organization – Cooperation Humboldt, Sequoia Humane Society, and OH SNAP! Student Food Programs. As residents clean out their rooms, they bring their items to the stations, where student volunteers and staff help sort out reusable goods, compostables and recycling from landfill waste. Throughout the week, the Sanctuary Arcata sorts reusable goods, compostables and recycling around the residence halls without direct access to a Donation Station. This year, eight tons of reusable goods went to participating organizations. 

Many of the donated items remain on campus, to be redistributed to students moving into the residence halls in August. “We’ve been able to achieve a kind of closed loop economy,” says King. “Through give-aways and a pop-up thrift shop, new students can find lightly used items to stock their rooms instead of buying new. This saves students money while furthering campus sustainability. It’s a win-win.” For more information on Donation Dash, go to

For the month of August please round up your purchases at the North Coast Co-op to help fund future projects for us.