By Breanne Reilly
Volunteers from the Tree House and Environmental and Wildlife Club hosted a non-profit event called the Give and Take free store.
The store was open from Aug. 27 until Sept. 7 at the Stewart Annex on South Sandusky St. Store hours were from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Three rooms in the Annex building stored thousands of donated items. The items were given by OWU students during last spring’s May Move Out Series. Items included appliances, furniture, school supplies, clothes and a gorilla suit.
EWC president junior Melissa Guziak said the gorilla suit was the first item to go, but most students were interested in the supplies. Students also lined up to drop off additional donations.
“We had 150 people the first day, and they each brought like 5 items back with them,” Guziak said. “They wanted to come back and give something in return.”
Sean Kinghorn, Energy Conservation and Sustainability coordinator, said the store’s purpose was to prevent reusable items from being thrown out.
The store also enabled donors to provide other students with items that are necessary for college. Students could pick up books and supplies free of charge. Appliances such as laptops and refrigerators were raffled off at Day on the Jay.
“Collecting these things provided not just an environmental service, but a social and financial service as well,” Kinghorn said.
The idea for the Give and Take store started last spring when senior Sarah D’Alexander created a green project for an Environmental Geography Seminar. She remembered dumpsters overflowing with reusable items during move out week in previous years. She contacted Kinghorn, who helped her organize the May Move Out Series to give students an opportunity to change the amount of waste on campus.
Students were asked to donate their reusable items before they moved out.
“Convenience plays a part in recycling,” Kinghorn said. “People want to do the right thing. But when you’ve got 24 hours to move out, it seems easier to throw everything away. We usually order extra dumpsters for spring move out.”
To make it convenient, D’Alexander, Kinghorn and approximately 20 student volunteers from the Tree House and the EWC put collection bins in the resident halls on campus.
The bins were used to collect any unwanted reusable items such as non-perishables, appliances, furniture, school supplies and clothes.
The volunteers spent more than 100 hours sorting through the donations.
Ninety percent of the donations were given to three local charities: the Habitat for Humanity Restore, the Common Ground Free Store, and Goodwill. The remaining items were stored in the Annex for the fall semester Give and Take free store.
According to Kinghorn, OWU students accumulated an average of 68 tons of waste in the past four years.
But after the May Move Out Series and the Give and Take free store, the accumulation was down to 22 tons.
“It’s all based on cumulative impact. All students, each little part, helped reduce the waste by 50 tons, while providing something for the community,” Kinghorn said.
The remaining items from the Give and Take free store were donated to the Goodwill. Since the project was a success, Kinghorn said he wants to do a mini move out series and free store at the end of the fall semester. Next spring, he said he hopes to hold another May Move Out Series in a larger storage space so more items can be kept for students.