For the seventh consecutive year, SOU Recycling and Southern Oregon Goodwill have partnered to collect unwanted goods from students as they move out of the residence halls. During this year’s collection drive, SOU students donated more than 10,400 pounds of reusable items. In addition, students donated non-perishable foods to the SOU Food Pantry and partially used personal care items to the Ashland Food Angels, who will distribute the items to families in need. 

The partnership began in 2012 with SOU’s first large scale move out collection program. A few weeks before students are required to check out of the residence halls, SOU Recycling and Goodwill deliver large collection carts to designated areas within each residence hall. During the final three weeks of spring term, students in the residence halls have access to the carts to donate acceptable items, including clothes, bedding, decor, electronics, books, and more. As the carts fill up, they are exchanged with empty carts and the material is taken to Goodwill facilities in Medford, where the items are weighed, sorted, and redistributed to Goodwill stores in Jackson County: Ashland, Medford, Central Point, and White City. 

Once in a store, the items are sold to Goodwill customers where $.86 of every $1 is reinvested in Goodwill’s employment and training programs. For example, a $30 purchase at a Goodwill store provides one hour of GED instruction to a classroom full of students. A purchase closer to $100 provides more than three hours of one-on-one training to a Goodwill client.

Goodwill’s mission is to enable employment by providing opportunities for personal and professional growth. More than 5,000 people in Southern Oregon and Northern California accessed one of 86,254 individual employment and training services in 2017 alone. Every 23 seconds of every business day, someone in the United States earns jobs with assistance from one of 162 independent Goodwill organizations. 

SOU’s move out program has collected an average of 8,000 pounds per year over its seven year tenure. Collecting these items for resale and recycle by Southern Oregon Goodwill keeps thousands of pounds of material out of the landfill and supports community programs. To learn more about SOU’s sustainability and recycling programs, visit sustainability.sou.edu