On West Chester University’s South Campus, there are three shipping containers full of gently-used room furniture, wall art, lamps, all kinds of organizers, clothes (some new and unworn, with tags still on), electronics, and more from WCU students who moved out in May and chose not to keep certain items – and not to throw them out.
Now those items – which have been assessed, sanitized, scrubbed, and sorted – are available for purchase by students at WCU’s first-ever “Pack It Up, Pass It On” yard sale.
“We really want to change the ‘It’s all disposable’ mindset,” said Amy Maxcy, of the Office of Sustainability (OoS), who coordinated the yard sale.
She says the program and its spring 2019 implementation are the brainchild of a group of students who attended last fall’s Students for Zero Waste conference and found inspiration there from other universities that had established similar programs.
WCU’s campus-wide initiative encouraged students moving out of university housing, as well as off-campus apartments, to consider rehoming unwanted clothing and household items that were still in good, usable condition. Donation bins and signage were placed in the lobbies of all eight traditional and affiliated North Campus residence halls and the South Campus Village clubhouse.
Off-campus students who had large items like furniture had to complete an online form and take a photo of the item in order to participate in a special borough pick-up on May 8. Donations were so plentiful that Maxcy said some clothes had to be turned away because the shipping container holding clothing was filled so quickly.
There’s a belief that the majority of millennials would never purchase used goods or clothing, but Maxcy says, “I’ve heard just the opposite, directly from the students. They’re happy to give a second life to a nice piece of furniture or well-cared-for clothing. They’re willing to save a few dollars by buying used, and they’re going to thrift stores. We’re saving them the trip, as well as saving them money, by hosting the Pack It Up, Pass It On yard sale. We want to continue this, maybe expand it, so we can divert more usable material from landfills.”
She and other volunteers spent much of the summer inventorying, cleaning, and photographing the donations. She created a digital inventory of most of items on Google Drive so students with WCU e-mail addresses can view the majority of what’s available. Students can reserve items, the most expensive of which will probably be about $40, she says. Proceeds will help fund next year’s rental of the shipping containers and other overhead for the initiative.
Supporting the student-leaders’ efforts were WCU’s Move Out Day Planning Committee members:
- Sandy Jones, director of Off-Campus and Commuter Services
- Maggie Holroyd, assistant director of Off-Campus and Commuter Services
- Jen Maresh, assistant professor of biology
- Larry Udell, assistant professor of philosophy
- Kelly Kingman USH Community Manager – Commonwealth Hall
- Shannon Gillespie, interim assistant director of the Office of Service Learning and Volunteer Programs
- Patricia Shields, director of custodial and grounds department
Maresh and Udell successfully submitted a grant proposal for internal funding to get the pilot program off the ground.