Students can recycle, donate items with Simple Act Vital Effect program during move out

Dalton Bergan

The Simple Act Vital Effect program gives students the opportunity to donate goods that are no longer of use to them instead of throwing them away at the end of the semester.

The SAVE program started April 21 and will run until May 14. At the end of the donation period, Department of Residence staff members will make trips to charity organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army to drop off items donated by students.

Items that can be donated include gently used clothing and furniture, household items and appliances in good condition and any unopened non-perishable food items.

“Students aren’t going to want to take all of the things that they needed, or thought they needed throughout the year back home,” said Kent Davis of the Department of Residence. “Instead of having that go in the dumpster, that can be used at a lot of places here in the Ames community.”

Most residence halls have a designated location where students can drop off items they wish to donate, though it varies from hall to hall. Posters have been put up to designate drop-off locations within residence halls.

“The drop-off locations are right at the residence halls and the apartments,” Davis said. “It just makes it easy so people don’t have to worry about going to Goodwill themselves.”

The SAVE program was originally founded in 2008, though it was initially called ISU ReCYcles. After seeing the large amounts of usable goods that were being thrown in the dumpster or out on the curb, the Department of Residence decided to create a system to allow these items to be donated to charities.

“We’ll donate used furniture, for instance, to Goodwill,” Davis said. “There’s also unopened food that’s still fine for people to use so we work with local food pantries for those items as well.”

The purpose of the program is to make use of goods that would otherwise be thrown away. This works to benefit both students and affected residents of the Ames community.

The DOR website states that the three main benefits of the program include saving students the effort required to haul unwanted items home, saving landfills by not throwing items in the trash, and saving the planet by reusing and recycling.

“A lot of [items] are things I know I won’t really have much use for,” said Helser resident Eric Swanberg. “It makes sense to donate it if it’s going to be valuable to someone else.”

Swanberg plans to donate some of the unopened food items in his dorm.

“It’s between [donating] and throwing it out, so I might as well let someone else get some use out of it,” Swanberg said. “I know they’re going to get more use out of it than I will.”

To carry out the SAVE program the DOR worked closely with partner organizations including Central Stores, Facilities Planning & Management and the Greenhouse Group, a student-run organization focused on sustainability.

“[The recycling program] has been happening for a few years now,” Davis said. “It’s been a good program because people realize, number one, the convenience of it, and number two, it’s going to a good cause.”

Students are encouraged to bring any items they wish to donate to one of the many donation centers found throughout the residence halls. A full list of drop-off locations can be found at