BY ROBBY JOHNSON republished from UBNow
Published August 27, 2018
As UB’s Ellicott Complex was filled with energy on Thursday with new students moving into residence halls, one of the prime examples of students being environmentally conscious was amid all of the excitement.
Two tents, positioned next to Crossroads Culinary Center, contained all sorts of everyday items essential to living in the residence halls. Used desk lamps, rugs, laundry baskets, mini-refrigerators, and even textbooks were all for sale thanks to the work of UB ReUSE.
Now in its third year, UB ReUSE is a student-run waste diversion program that recovers useable objects that would otherwise be thrown out or left behind by students leaving for the summer. The program started as a small collaboration of students looking to cut back on student waste.
“A few years ago we identified a problem that when many students are moving out, they have to throw everything out,” said Brandon Munson, a program coordinator for UB ReUSE and a senior environmental studies student. “It’s either they’re international students that can’t take things with them or students that figure they’re going to buy a new [item]. This turns into an incredible amount of waste and it’s really sad to see.”
Every year since its inception, UB ReUSE has recruited volunteers to collect and save usable items from going to a landfill during the move-out period. The program then cleans and sorts the items over the summer to get ready for its annual move-in sale. All of the money made from the used and inexpensive items goes back to the program to expand it in the future.
“Last year we only had one tent and about half the amount of items for sale,” said Munson. “We ended up diverting three-and-a-half tons of waste last semester, which is a ton more than what we’ve done in the past. Every year you get to see how it’s improving and you get to see people that are coming back, that are excited about it, and know about it.”
Parents and students alike were happy about the move-in sale. Many walked by the range of items in disbelief that so many in excellent condition were being sold at an inexpensive price-point. Expressions of gratitude to volunteers were also common.
Kayleigh Hamernik, another UB ReUSE coordinator and a senior in UB’s environmental studies program, has seen the program grow since the beginning.
“This is so great. When we first started, this was just an idea that a bunch of students had as a passion project,” she said. “We really pulled it together but it wasn’t where it is now. This is great to see and support from university entities like Campus Living and UB Sustainability is amazing.”
“The first year we didn’t even have tents or lighting like this,” she added. “To see this go from something that just a bunch of students just threw together to something that’s sanctioned by the university and is a part of campus culture now is nice. We’ve finally got a routine and a system down now and it’s becoming more official and ingrained every year we do it. By the time Brandon and I graduate, hopefully it’s a part of the tradition of move-in weekend.”
Sustainable Development Goals:
12. Responsible consumption & production: Developing sustainable methods of product invention and consumer spending