Cal Poly students donate more than 8 tons of items for SLO County non-profits

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Cal Poly students gave back to the San Luis Obispo community after the end of the school year.

According Cal Poly officials, Cal Poly University Housing donated more than 8 tons of food, clothing and other goods to San Luis Obispo County nonprofit organizations.

The items came from residents in student housing during the move-out in mid-June. Included was more than 6,600 pounds of prepackaged food that was donated to four nonprofits, housing officials said.


Amanda Smith, a communication studies major from San Diego, helps sort clothes donated by Cal Poly students who lived in campus student housing.

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon assisted students in collection efforts during the second of the five-day move-out collection period, June 11-15.

In the press release, officials noted Darin Son, a 2019 environmental engineering graduate, who led a team of dozens of students in a project to reduce the amount of waste generated at the conclusion of the school year, said 15,356 pounds of goods were donated to local nonprofits organizations:

–The Salvation Army, San Luis Obispo Corps, received 7,091 pounds of donations: 3,966 pounds of food and 3,125 pounds described as “clothes, shoes, laundry detergents and miscellaneous items.”

–Goodwill Central Coast received nearly 5,600 pounds of clothing, kitchenware and household goods.

–The Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County and Access Support Network of San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties got 946 and 765 pounds of food respectively.

Extra food also went to the Cal Poly Food Pantry, which is a resource for students needing food, received 972 pounds of canned and jarred food items.


SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon assists student volunteers in sorting clothes donated by Cal Poly students. Also pictured, from left, are Darin Son, Amanda Smith, Sydney Sierras and Adam Simon, a psychology major from San Rafael, California.

Son said she and other students who oversee CP Thrift, the 2-year-old campus thrift store initiative, diverted more than 6,000 pounds of reusable items from the landfill specifically for use by incoming first-year and transfer students.

“Those materials will be offered to new students at our second CP Thrift Resale Fair in September,” said Son, who will begin her graduate studies in civil and environmental engineering at Cal Poly in the fall. “Through the fall fair, we hope to provide students with options that can help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions from extra trips to the store and reduce packaging waste from ordering extra materials online, while educating them on sustainable options at Cal Poly.”


Sydney Sierras, nutrition major from San Jose, helps sort donated clothes as SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon talks to some constituents.

Nearly 3,000 reusable items were collected from campus housing units in June, including student supplies and household items such as mirrors, fans, storage cubbies, plastic shower caddies, trash cans and hangers. Son said this year’s donations to CP Thrift were double the amount collected last year.

The first campus resale fair was a success — providing students an affordable option for acquiring necessary dorm-room essentials and amenities.. Of 3,280 pounds of items collected in June 2018, incoming students reused 2,950 pounds.

Items at the fair were offered based on suggested donations. Although students were not obligated to pay, the sale still generated $2,800 for the Cal Poly Eco Fund, which paid for eco-friendly student projects throughout the 2018-19 academic year.

Story by Cal Poly News

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