UBReUSE plans to expand sustainability programs

UBReUSE collects items from students moving out of the dorms in the spring, refurbishes them and then sells them during Opening Weekend. Last year's two-day sale raised approximately $1,800, which is being used to help expand UBReUSE this year. 

Published November 14, 2016

UBReUSE, the student-run sustainability program that started last spring, is back this academic year and looking to grow. But it needs a few good student volunteers willing to help take the program to the next level.

Last spring, collection bins were set up outside a few dorms and apartments on campus for students who wanted to get rid of electronics, appliances, clothing and just about anything else they didn’t want to take back home with them as they moved out of campus housing in May.

The items were stored over the summer — with student volunteers refurbishing any that were broken or needed repair — and resold in late August as part of Opening Weekend. The two-day sale raised approximately $1,800, which will be used to help expand UBReUSE this year. Items that weren’t sold were donated to community organizations.

“The vision is to make UBReUSE a permanent program on campus, something that students look forward to being a part of each year,” says Katrina Cropo, who graduated from UB in May but is helping transition the program to new student leaders this year.

“It’s a new program and we’re still raising awareness about it. We’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do,” she adds. “Now we’re looking at ways to make it better and more efficient, and adding storage space to increase how much we can collect.”

The goal is to expand the program to include other dorms and apartment complexes on the North and South campuses. That will require additional storage space, plus volunteers willing to help out at collection sites, refurbishing items and assisting at the Opening Weekend sale. Anyone interested in volunteering can email the UBReUSE team.

The additional resources would help keep the program’s momentum going, says Ken Kern, associate director for campus living sustainability. “When you try something new, you don’t know if it’s going to work. But the first year of this was so successful,” Kern says. “The students were all smiles and had fun with it. It would be nice if this could become a UB tradition.”

Down the road, Cropo says, UBReUSE plans to establish a thrift shop on campus where students — especially international students who are limited in what they can bring with them to the U.S. — can purchase coffeemakers, lamps, furniture, clothing and other items they can use for their dorms and apartments.

“Why go out and spend $500 when you can come to the shop and spend a quarter of that,” Cropo says. “That would increase the value of the program. We want people to see how much stuff gets thrown out and think twice about it.”

Before UBReUSE, Campus Living would set up dumpsters outside dorms and apartment complexes. Anything tossed out would make its way into the trash stream. UBReUSE helps delay that, while providing a valuable service for students, as well as faculty and staff. Kern notes that a number of UB employees donated items that were then resold in August.