CC Pantry Exchange Advances CC's Sustainability Goals

The newly established CC Pantry Exchange works to advance Colorado College’s sustainability goals, as well as provide students as opportunity to access clothes and food items.

The CC Pantry Exchange is divided into two separate spaces, both located in the old mailroom in the Worner Campus Center. Campus Activities manages the food pantry, and the Office of Sustainability runs the exchange, which is often described as being similar to thrift store. The CC Pantry gives students an opportunity to both donate and get food, which allows them an opportunity to access fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as shelf-stable meals.

“The main mission of the joint space is to serve the basic needs of the CC community, allowing students to focus on academics or hobbies once they have needs like food and clothing met,” says Kate Lamkin ‘24, co-student manager of the CC Exchange. 

The CC Pantry Exchange officially started in Spring 2022, though both the exchange, formerly known as CC’s Swap Space, and the food pantry have existed on campus as separate entities for many years. Swap Space was started years ago by EnAct, an environmental action club on campus.

"The CC Pantry is a space led by Campus Activities which provides free food and supplies for students who are struggling financially or facing food insecurity on campus. This space is a welcoming and stigma-free environment for students, without any financial limitations. We know it is impossible to be successful personally and academically without consistent access to food and we are here to support students in every aspect of their lives. In these ways, we strive to contribute to CC's mission of mental health and wellness,” says Allis Werkmeister, Campus Activities specialist.

There were 477 visits to the CC Pantry between Sept. 8 and Dec. 7, 2022, says Werkmeister. Over 85% of students who visited the pantry reported that they would have had to skip a meal that week had they not had access to the CC Pantry.

The Office of Sustainability advances CC’s commitment to sustainability using the framework of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The CC Pantry Exchange particularly focuses on Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

The United Nations' Committee on World Food Security defines food security as all people having physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. The CC Pantry works to reduce food insecurity on campus by providing consistent and free nutritious food items.

The CC Exchange was originally created to provide a space for students to reduce their waste by donating gently used items that otherwise may have ended up in the landfill. Since partnering with Campus Activities and moving under the jurisdiction of the Office of Sustainability, the CC Exchange continues to build on that idea, by reducing waste generation and increasing waste diversion on campus.

“The CC Exchange provides an opportunity for students to reflect on our consumption habits. This includes the motivation behind our purchases, how items and clothing can be seen as easily disposable, and what happens once these things leaves our personal spaces,” says Mae Rohrbach, sustainability coordinator.

“I decided to become involved in the CC Exchange because I am passionate about reducing waste, decreasing material consumption, and repurposing items. The CC Exchange helps to enhance sustainability on campus by revitalizing items that would otherwise be thrown out,” says Annabelle Sparks ’23, one of two CC Exchange student managers.

“The CC Exchange is an entirely free space, meaning there are no monetary transactions, so it is extremely accessible to everyone on campus,” says Sparks, an environmental studies major.  

“The CC Exchange allows students to experiment with clothing, books, and outdoor gear they may not otherwise have been able to get ahold of, whether this is because of financial reasons or not. Plus, if someone takes something they do not end up wanting for a while, they don't have to feel guilty about it as they can just bring it back the next week,” says Lamkin, an environmental science major and urban studies minor.

When the CC Pantry Exchange is open for students to pick up or donate items, it is entirely run by students, though Rohrbach and Werkmeister do a lot of behind-the-scenes work, says Lamkin. On average, there are about 35 pounds of donations available at the CC Exchange per opening, and a little more than 50 people attend each opening on Thursdays. Donations generally increase at the end of the spring semester, as students clean out their rooms for summer break.

After receiving donations from students, Lamkin and Sparks weigh the items and then sort them into piles of what they will keep for the space and what they will donate elsewhere. Lamkin and Sparks bring items that are stained or ripped to the Arc, which has a special program for items of this nature, says Lamkin.

The CC Exchange collaborates with several off-campus partners, including the Colorado Springs Rescue Mission. “We look for donation places that really align with the mission of the CC Exchange and reflects its values,” says Rohrbach.

The CC Exchange is working to partner with several on-campus programs and departments. The CC Exchange is planning to pilot a program with Housing and Residential Experience to take laundry that has been abandoned in laundry rooms for several weeks and donate it to the CC Exchange, to create a new stream of items. 

The CC Exchange is also in discussion with Rebecca Parker, director of arts and crafts, to use unwanted items from the CC Exchange for the upcycling and sustainability fashion course, says Rohrbach.

“I think the CC Exchange is important to the campus community because it offers an opportunity to support students. Students can donate items, such as clothing and books, to support other students and to reuse items so they don’t end up getting wasted in the landfill. It fosters a sense of community support, so I plan on donating some items soon,” says Kalie Chang ’26, who first heard about it during the Bridge Program orientation.

Chang goes to the CC Exchange about once a month to see if there are any antique figures, as collecting toy figures is one of her hobbies.

“I've gotten a ceramic sheltie figure from them. I really like the CC Exchange because there’s a variety of products you can look for and it isn't necessarily limited to clothing,” says Chang, who plans to major in computer science.

Chang also appreciates the student employees, who she says are always welcoming and helpful.

Unlike the Swap Space, which required students to donate an item in exchange for taking an item, the CC Exchange does not require students to donate anything in order to take items.

During opening hours, Sparks and Lamkin are available to answer questions from students, receive donations, and assist with having students try items on, which they can do because the CC Exchange has access to the old bookstore’s fitting rooms.

The CC Pantry is open on the first three Thursdays of every block between 2 and 4 p.m. During breaks, including block breaks and summer and winter break, the CC Pantry is open from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Thursdays. The CC Exchange is open on the first three Thursdays of every block between 2 and 4 p.m.

Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to donate items to the pantry at any time.

For more information on the CC Pantry, please contact Allis Werkmeister. For more information on the CC Exchange, please contact the Office of Sustainability at

Report an issue - Last updated: 02/07/2023