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Your Green Life: UMD Free Store recycles student housing items

Reduce, reuse, recycle. That’s what a new store on campus at UMD is hoping to accomplish as it takes student’s old, still useful items, and put them back in the hands of new incoming students rather than in landfills.

One person’s junk is another person’s treasure, or at least that what students and workers at UMD’s new store hope is the case. 

"The housing folks were like, why don’t we start a free store? And give back to our own students who are just as much in need as other folks in the community," says Jonna Korpi with the UMD Sustainability Office. 

The small campus store which resides in Heaney Hall Service Center is packed full of recycled items for students to take for free. 

Korpi says, "students were really on board with that and I think maybe even donated more than they normally would during move out."

2,000 students waited until the last day to move out during the spring semester. "We had a huge push on May 4th. Just hundreds of students coming and going with their families."

A crew of students, members of the UMD Sustainability Office, and International Student Program interns started collecting anything and everything that was of good quality from students moving out and organizing everything into categories.   

"We were able to pull donations in for the Free Store and then also we were able to donate non-perishable food items to CHUM and Champs Cupboard which is the food shelf here on campus," says Korpi. 

The store offers a little something for everyone. "Brand new school supplies, chairs, rugs, desk lamps, bed risers for students. Kitchen items, fans, which are a big deal in the fall here."

Korpi says, everything is free, all you need is a student ID, "every time its open students can come in so it’s a four-item limit per day, not per student."

Helping students in need, while also helping the environment. Korpi says, "we are preventing things from going in the landfill. We are getting things reused before the end of their life. All these things have much, much more time that can be spent."

All while teaching students a lesson in recycling. 

"Their things can live on whether for somebody else or can be repurposed for another way. Just trying really to embolden those things in people’s minds and awareness and get people in the habit of recycling and donating."

The Free Store will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during move-in day on August 21. The store hours will vary throughout the semester.

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