Published August 30, 2019
Sifting through the clothing rack, Rosie Mollica spotted a garment that caught her eye. “Look at this skirt!” she blurted out, showing it to her father, Peter.
Rosie is a UB freshman from Long Island and Aug. 22 was move-in day for her and thousands of other new UB students.
But the Mollicas weren’t clothes shopping at Target or Walmart. They were perusing the wares under a giant tent on the Ellicott Complex lawn on the North Campus, where the UB ReUSE fall sale was set up during Welcome Weekend.
This was the fourth year for the event, which has grown larger each year, according to UB Sustainability’s Erin Moscati, who helps coordinate the student-driven event.
“We are incredibly encouraged by the amount of interest and impact our students have through this initiative, and it is only getting stronger every year,” Moscati said. “It’s a great program that saves students and their families money, and helps us be better stewards of the environment by diverting waste.”
While UB Sustainability assists with program oversight, the fall sale — and the massive collection effort that takes place when students move out of residence halls at the end of the spring semester — are led entirely by UB students.
And the sale is held for the benefit of fellow students like Eve Brunswick, who found a few deals. “I bought a drawer and some really fancy boots — $7,” Brunswick said, shrugging her shoulders. “I wish that I had not bought stuff at home and bought it here instead.”
The spring move-out collection yields tons of donated clothing items, along with mini refrigerators and other small dorm room appliances, holiday decorations, kitchenware, rugs, comforters and furniture. There was even a fencing suit available for sale.
“I came down here earlier and I found my textbooks for really cheap. I was pretty ecstatic about it,” said Brigid Hickey, a freshman from Plattekill, N.Y.
Over the summer, student volunteers wash the clothing and other items, and test and refurbish any electronics or appliances that have been donated. It’s all categorized, organized and stored in trailers until it’s time for the big sale, which takes place the first few days of Welcome Weekend.
In the days leading up to the sale, volunteers arrange everything neatly on tables under the tent.
“We make everything look appealing. It’s easy to navigate through, so people could just come here and buy stuff that’s so much cheaper than how much it usually costs,” said senior environmental engineering major Lesly Villanueva, one of the UB ReUSE student managers.
Plus, she said, “At this time of year, Target and Walmart are so crowded.”
The Mollicas could attest to that. “Yesterday we went to Walmart and we tried to get everything but we all just got so tired because it was so crowded and just a lot going on so we left. And we were like, ‘oh we’ll do it today,’ but now it’s all here so we don’t have to go do it,” Rosie said.
At the sale, Rosie snagged a mini refrigerator, a mirror, a lamp, a pair of pants and a $4 winter coat.
UB ReUSE offers students moving into the dorms both convenience and savings. But there’s a much bigger objective to the program, says Mike McDonald, a senior supply chain and operations major and student manager.
“It’s a waste-diversion program,” McDonald said. “The clothes hangers, for example, people love them because now they don’t have to go out and buy some, but they’re also being reused. They’re plastic. A lot of clothing will end up being donated at the end. Same with the electronics. We’ll do our best to recycle those.”
Business was brisk on Thursday morning. “We made almost $1,000 within the first hour,” McDonald said. “Stuff’s moving. That was exciting to see. We have a lot of people coming through saying, ‘Oh, this saved me a trip to Walmart.’”
“It’s fantastic,” Peter Mollica said. “I came down here for one thing and I have about five or six, and we’re still shopping.”
As Rosie excitedly inspected the skirt, adorned with silver stars, her dad replied, “All right, take it easy now,” his arms already full of items.
This article made me so happy! I am an alumnus of UB, Class of 2000, and have worked here since 2003. I would love to help out with any programs like this in the future. I am very interested and passionate about the environment and am so glad that so many items were reused. It is a win-win for everyone!