Moving Sale Highlights Dartmouth’s Sustainability Efforts


Yesterday, hundreds of new students and their parents rose before dawn to line up along the south side of Tuck Mall. Their mission? Getting first dibs on hundreds of recycled items at Dartmouth’s annual Sustainable Moving Sale.

Sustainability Sale

Students and their parents peruse recycled dorm room appliances and gear at the Sustainable Moving Sale. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Dating back to 2006, the sale is run by students who work in the College’s Sustainability Office with the support of the Office of Residential Life. The sale offers a variety of dorm room appliances and gear in an effort to reduce waste and gives students affordable prices for everyday things. This year, the line began forming at 5:45 a.m., more than two hours before the 8 a.m. start time. About 500 people attended the sale.

“It’s been exciting,” says Sustainable Moving Sale Intern Sam Parker ’15, the volunteer coordinator for the September 10 event, who showed up at the sale dressed entirely in green. “We’ve saved a lot of stuff from the landfill.”

When Parker says stuff, she means all sorts of it. Students and their families picked through the more mundane things, such as refrigerators, thermoses, and shower caddies, and the less expected, like telescopes, hair straighteners, and yoga mats. The more than 200 refrigerators ranged in cost from $25 to $45 dollars, while most other items cost less than $15, according to Parker.

The sale project is organized almost entirely by students. In the spring, students donate goods that would otherwise be thrown away. Volunteers and interns in the office spend the spring and summer cleaning and refurbishing the donations, which are stored in a nearby warehouse. The sale usually raises more than $10,000, which goes toward supporting student sustainability grants and funding the sale itself, covering cleaning materials and truck transportation, and paying students to refurbish the items.

Volunteers and interns in the Sustainability Office spend the spring and summer cleaning and refurbishing the items that are sold at the moving sale. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

In addition to providing low prices, the sale gives first-year students a chance to meet and interact with older students.

“Moving day is stressful. We try to create a face-to-face interaction with upperclassmen,” says Katie Williamson ’15, a Sustainable Moving Sale intern. The event also provides visibility for Dartmouth’s green efforts, she says.

“It’s been really nice to get new students excited about sustainability,” Williamson says. Both Parker and Williamson say this year’s sale was the biggest yet in terms of things sold and the number of people attending.

“I just think the sale is the perfect example of Dartmouth students putting concepts they learned in a classroom into action and making them stick,” says Director of Sustainability Rosi Kerr ’97. “Every year it gets better and better.”

Keith Chapman