Typically, getting free items is something no human would be willing to pass up. In college, this rings especially true. According to the College Board, the average annual cost of books and materials for university students is $1,168.
In an effort to be more sustainable and cost-effective, Keene State College has a room where you can get textbooks, school supplies and other items for free.
The reuse room, located in the Joslin House basement, has been around since before Recycling Coordinator Matt Bacon came to KSC in 2012.
Bacon said the reuse room was started by Mary Jensen, the former director of sustainability. Students, faculty, staff and even townspeople can utilize the room and take what they want. There are school supplies, textbooks, silverware, cups, skateboards, CDs, cassette tapes, stereos, video game accessories, books, magazines and even movies that are up for grabs.
KSC sophomore Eco Rep Brian Valante is in charge of the reuse room. Valante spends time organizing and checking the room a couple of times a week.
Valante feels the public should use the room more often.
“It’s kind of like a big system of ‘take a penny leave a penny,’” Valante said. “If you have any items or anything that you don’t necessarily need that you know someone else could, then you could just come down, drop it off and anything you find there you can take for free. I think it’s a great thing more students should make use of.”
Bacon said it’s important for students to use the reuse room before they look to purchase the item at a store.
Bacon said this means there is less waste.
“People moving into their new, first-time, off-campus apartment might not want to go to Walmart or shouldn’t have to go to Walmart and spend money on that stuff when they can get perfectly good stuff for free,” Bacon said. “It’s just a great viable option to not create more products going into the waste stream later on.”
Bacon said he sees people going into the reuse room daily. However, about half the time, people leave with something.
KSC junior Shaun Ross said he got books, notebooks and drinking cups from the reuse room. He said the room is a great way to spread awareness about the R.O.C.K.S. group and Eco Reps group, since it is in the same area. Ross feels having the reuse room is a positive reflection of the college.
“I think it kind of sends a message that Keene State is trying to move towards a sustainable future,” Ross said.
Bacon and Valante said items that aren’t allowed in the room are food and drink, clothing, broken electronics, trash, batteries and anything with liquid in it.
If someone wants to donate food, they can put it in the Hungry Owl box that is in the Joslin building. For those who want to donate their clothing, they can bring it to R.O.C.K.S. for them to pick up.
To learn more about the reuse room and other sustainability-related services, there will be an open house in the Joslin Basement on April 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m..
Katie Glosser can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org