Moving In

Move In

Fall 2020 Move-In?

Whether you will be living on- or off-campus this fall, you can help to facilitate a safe and efficient move-in experience — and one which is guided by a Zero Waste approach.

Pack in reusable containers

Did you know BU has a goal to achieve Zero Waste by 2030? While there are many ways to be conscious of your waste during the move-in period, reducing the use of cardboard and packaging materials is a high-impact place to start. For on-campus residents, BU Sustainability coordinates an annual Cardboard Recycling Program, aimed at diverting cardboard from landfills and incineration.

Since 2011, we have diverted 308 tons of cardboard from incineration. This year, we ask you to not just properly sort your cardboard, but to strive toward eliminating it. Cardboard and packing materials are touch points that may increase the risk of virus transmission for BU’s custodians and vendors. Help keep our valued staff and partners safe while contributing to BU’s Zero Waste goal.

For all students living in the Boston area, consider the following tips when preparing for your move-in, to both minimize waste and save money:

  • Pack belongings in reusable totes, duffle bags, and suitcases
  • Instead of bubble wrap or foam, items such as towels, clothing, and bedding you already planned to pack can serve as padding
  • Consider buying any additional items locally from Boston to reduce packaging and carbon emissions from shipping
  • If you have to order items online, explore company options for low-waste packaging


Before You Arrive at BU

We urge all students and families to keep their environmental footprint in mind when students move into their new homes here on campus.?

Our urban campus means that you’ll be able to purchase nearly anything that you forgot to bring–from extra bicycle tires to room decorations. By purchasing items once you’ve already moved in, you can reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the transportation impact and shipping materials associated with online orders. Your move will also be easier with less to move in.?

The City of Boston has high-quality drinking water, so leave your cases of bottled water behind:?Tap Water Taste Test results.?

You can save money and space in your dorm room by making easy swaps for reusable and energy saving products.??

  • Opt for a smart power strip to reduce energy consumption.
  • Bring reusable cup, plate, bowl, fork, knife, spoon for those in-room snacks.
  • Reusable water bottle and water filtration pitchers save tons of space, no need for cases of bottled water.?
  • Using a reusable mug at water bottle filling stations will help you reduce your use of single-use plastics, also enabling you to dedicate space in your room toward something other than bottled water.
  • If you’re bringing a desk lamp, make sure your bulb is LED.
  • Swap paper napkins and paper towels for reusable cloth products. You’ll save space in your dorm without large rolls and multi-packs.
  • Bring reusable food containers, straws, and baggies.?
  • Remember a separate recycling bin for your room, it will make it easier for you to bring recyclables to the designated spot on your floor.
  • Boston’s plastic bag ordinance means that you’ll have to pay extra for each plastic bag you need when shopping. Bring reusable bags when you shop to save that extra money.??
  • No need for a printer! You’ll have access to many printers in your dorm and around campus, and everyone receives a printing allowance.
  • Purchase organic bedding, which uses materials such as cotton and bamboo that have been grown without pesticides.?
  • Invest in a solar powered charger for your phone and other small electronics.

Move-In Day

The less you bring, the less you have to move in.?For over 20 years, the Boston University Scarlet Squad has welcomed new students to campus.?The Scarlet Squad is a group of red-shirted upperclassmen who greet first-year students, assist them as they move into our residence halls, and promote sustainable practices during move-in.?

Cardboard recycling is an important part of our operations at BU. As you make your way to the elevator to return your moving cart, please “break it down” and “toss it in,” as you drop off cardboard at your designated recycling area. With more than 35 designated recycling locations, we make it easy for your to breakdown and recycle your cardboard boxes at move in. Use the map to find the location closest to your residence.

Your Sustainable Dorm

By taking a few simple steps you can create a welcoming space and simultaneously help reduce energy waste on campus.

Go Natural

  • Lift shades to bring in natural light and switch off overheads.
  • Add a few plants to your room. They improve air quality, have been shown to aid in overall mood and stress levels. They’ll also show everyone that you’re compassionate about the earth.
  • Instead of using a fan to cool your room, open the window, when possible.
  • Close blinds on a hot day to keep your room cool; open blinds on a cold day to let in the warmth of the sun.?
  • To support high-quality indoor air quality, avoid air fresheners full of chemicals and instead prevent odors from the start. If needed, opt for a box of baking soda; it’s cost-effective and will help freshen things up.
  • Choose environmentally friendly cleaning products and detergents.
  • BU students get discounted Bluebikes memberships. Bike, walk, or use public transportation when possible.?

Smart Electronics

  • Enable power-saving computer settings. Have the screen turn off after 3 minutes, and turn your computer off at night Be sure to switch off the light when you leave your room.
  • Unplug your power cords when they’re not in use.?
  • Share a fridge with your roommate, use the common fridge, and keep the temp at 35F, and 0F in the freezer.?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Encourage your dorm-mates to recycle. If there seem to be additional needs, request more recycling bins.
  • Before you pitch anything from your room, determine if someone else such as Goodwill or could use it. At the end of each semester, BU Sustainability runs a Goodwill Not Landfill drive right on campus.?
  • Only take what you’ll eat at the dining halls.
  • Take shorter, cooler showers.
  • Washing your clothes in cold water reduces energy use by and helps clothes last longer. Aim to wash only full loads and air dry on a clothing rack.

Sustainable Purchasing

  • When shopping, choose brands that do not use phosphates, which pollute waters and ruin ecosystems, or petrochemicals, which are made from petroleum or carbon. You can download the the Environmental Working Group app to scan products for environmental and health impacts.