A Greener Packing List

As you pack for your move to college, keep in mind that Dickinson College is committed to reducing our collective impact on the environment and that you should think about "being green" in your residence hall, your room and throughout your life at Dickinson. We encourage buying less stuff, using recycled products, reusing items and developing community through the sharing of items in residence halls.

Upon arrival on move-in day, Resident Advisors, First-Year Mentors, and other upper-class students will help carry your belongings into your residence hall and show you where to recycle your move-in wastes. Remember, however, that many of the items you use at home will already be available to you at school—such as a refrigerator and microwave—and as you will soon find out, Dickinson always smiles upon sustainable choices. Most everything on this list is optional, so be thoughtful about what you really need, and what can be bought used. If you do forget something, you will most likely find it from a friend/roommate, in the College Bookstore, the Devil's Den (Dickinson’s convenience store), or at the local shopping centers and stores in downtown Carlisle.


Bring clothes that are comfortable and that suit your personal style. Closet space should be sufficient for most students. Planning a wardrobe specific to the season and exchanging clothing over breaks will help you maintain the necessary space for all your belongings. You may want to bring a swimsuit to wear to the Kline Center indoor pool, and clothing for the occasional formal dance. Many students also choose to wear some sort of footwear and/or robe into the bathroom.

Carlisle has four distinct seasons. Summer and early fall can be warm (temperatures ranging between 70° and 90°F) and humid. Late fall is comfortable, but colder (temperatures ranging between 32° and 60°F). Winters tend to be cold with some snow (temperatures ranging between 10° and 40°F). Springs are wet but balmy. Carlisle can be rainy in all seasons, so bring an umbrella, rain boots and/or a waterproof coat.

Academic Items

Buy recycled (>50% post-consumer waste) and non-toxic products when available!

  • Pencils/pens/highlighters
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Notebooks & writing paper (check home for scrap paper/unused notebooks)
  • Stamps
  • Envelopes
  • Paper clips
  • Rubber bands
  • Stapler and staples
  • Ruler
  • Note cards (various sizes)
  • Glue
  • Transparent & masking tape
  • Thumb tacks
  • Calendar
  • Daily planner
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Dry erase board

Personal Items

  • Clothing (there are great thrift shops in Carlisle).
  • Twin sheets — extra long (natural fiber)
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Re-usable bag (for shopping, to avoid plastic bags)
  • Thermos/portable mug (limit waste and you’ll also save $0.50 when you buy drinks on campus)
  • Re-usable water bottle (BPA free, aluminum or stainless steel)
  • Laundry bag or basket
  • Laundry detergent (choose a scent-free, chemical-free detergent)
  • Clothes-drying rack to avoid clothes dryer
  • Toiletry items
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes
  • Umbrella/raincoat/rain boots
  • Hangers
  • Bike (to get around sustainably), plus a bike lock and helmet (to get around safely)

Miscellaneous Items

Look for Energy Star-logo TVs, DVD players, computers and microwaves.

  • Desk lamp (with compact fluorescent light bulb)
  • Wastebasket (recycling receptacles provided)
  • Surge protector w/ circuit breaker (switch to power down all appliances at once)
  • Alarm clock (single function uses less energy)
  • Flashlight/battery operated lantern
  • Bottle and can opener
  • Dishes & flatware (lots of events encouraged as BYO place-setting to reduce waste)
  • Shoe rack
  • Small tool kit
  • Safety pins
  • Prescription and non-prescription medicines/vitamins
  • Thermometer
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Storage crates (recycled plastic)
  • Fan
  • Games
  • DVDs
  • Sewing kit
  • Coffee pot*
  • Iron/ironing board*

*Appliances such as coffee pots, curling irons and irons should be equipped with automatic shut-off.

Prohibited Items

  • No cooking devices in rooms with the exception of a microwave (which will be provided in the common space of all residence halls)
  • No pets except for fish that can be kept in a bowl or 20-gallon tank
  • No hazardous electrical appliances with open heating elements, including halogen lamps, cooking appliances, decorative lights (including string lights or holiday lights), concealed extension cords, or multiple outlet adapters. Multiple strip outlets (fused, with at least 14 gauge wire, grounded cord) are allowed when needed to power electronic devices.
  • No candles, incense burners, or oil burning lamps and lanterns
  • No firecrackers, fireworks, or any explosive material
  • No gasoline motors of any type and no storing of fuels such as gasoline or propane
  • No guns, ammunition, or weapons, including but not limited to knives, darts, foils, and swords
  • No wooden frame or metal lofts 
  • No screws, nails, staples and/or adhesives such as Scotch or duct tape on walls
  • No tapestries/fabric to be hung from the ceiling/sprinkler pipes
  • No device or object that would block a fire safety object or exit/egress from a building

Items to avoid

  • Air fresheners (contain many toxic chemicals. Consider this deodorizer instead: 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 tablespoons baking soda.) 
  • Plastic water bottles
  • TV (already available in residence halls)
  • Aerosol cans

It’s easy to bring along all the items you might miss from home: a small refrigerator, microwave, hairdryer or straightener, printer, etc. In actuality, refrigerators and microwaves will be available in your residence hall, and your printing allotment will allow you to print in public buildings like the library. As always, Dickinson encourages and appreciates your efforts to engage the world … sustainably!