Carolina Housing PODS Donation Management

STUDENT DONATION STORAGE AND LOGISTICS FOR CAROLINA HOUSING

For the University of North Carolina, PODS containers minimize landfill waste by making donations easier for student residents when moving out.

University of North Carolina | Carolina Housing

Carolina Housing provides and manages student accommodations for 8,600 undergraduate and graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The housing includes 32 residence halls and two apartment communities, and is spread out over 3.2 million square feet of facilities. Carolina Housing operates under the aegis of The Department of Housing and Residential Education at UNC.

 
Carolina Housing PODS Containers Donation Management

THE CHALLENGE: INACCESSIBLE DONATION COLLECTION

Now in its tenth year, Carolina Housing's “Don't Ditch It, Donate It!" program is UNC Chapel Hill's spring campaign to reduce landfill waste. The initiative, which lasts 10 days to two weeks each year, encourages student residents to donate items that they might discard as they move out.

Students often throw out usable goods such as furniture, appliances, rugs and unopened food, as the cost of transporting them home and storing them for the summer can be steep. As part of the drive, most dormitory-style residence halls set up cardboard collection containers inside the facility.

However, the apartment units, because of their internal layouts, can't accommodate indoor collection centers. So the apartment-style housing community, as well as an off-campus community, needs collection containers that can remain outside. Those containers also need to be weatherproof, secured overnight and easily accessed by multiple students at a time dropping off items.

 
Carolina Housing PODS Donation Management

THE PODS SOLUTION: STORAGE CONTAINERS AND DELIVERY

In 2009, Carolina Housing wanted to test-drive the Don't Ditch It, Donate It!" program, so PODS for Business donated use of three 12-ft containers. That launch was so successful that Carolina Housing cemented the deal with PODS and has paid for three containers every year since.

Deborah Bousquet, Assistant Director, Facilities Management, reserves the units and charges expenses to a government account, six weeks ahead of time. A dedicated PODS Business Solutions Specialist schedules delivery of two PODS containers to the student family housing community on campus, and one to the university's off-campus undergraduate community.

Collected items are distributed to local nonprofits. UNC's own Carolina Thrift picks up gently used clothes and larger furniture to stage an annual yard sale in August for the students moving in. UNC's Carolina Cupboard, which feeds needy students, gathers the food donations. TROSA Moving, an extension of TROSA, a Durham-based licensed treatment facility for people with substance abuse disorders, picks up the rest of the donations, every day over the 10-day period. It delivers most linens to a local animal shelter, Paws4ever. TROSA also delivers carpets and rugs that are not reusable to Blue Ridge Recycling in Charlotte. TROSA keeps and sells the rest of the goods to raise money for its programs.

PODS removes the containers after the program ends.

“It's easy for staff to roll up the doors and close them at night, and easier for residents to walk in with donations. The design of the PODS containers makes it an easier process."

— Deborah Bousquet, Assistant Director, Facilities Management, Carolina Housing

 
Carolina Housing PODS moving container

THE RESULTS: MORE STUDENT DONATIONS

Use of secure and accessible PODS containers at the University at three central locations allowed students more opportunities to easily drop off reusable household items, thereby increasing the efficiency of the “Don't Ditch It, Donate It!" program, Bousquet says. Over the 10 years the initiative has existed, Carolina Housing has successfully diverted 342 tons of goods from area landfills.
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“We used to stage 53-foot trailers, which made it difficult for residents to put items in, due to elevation. Transitioning to PODS was really the best solution. PODS is my go-to for getting those donations for the 'Don't Ditch It, Donate It!' program."

— Deborah Bousquet, Assistant Director, Facilities Management, Carolina Housing

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