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photo by Mico Mazza

Monthly free store at the U of O

ON SEPT. 28, students walking by the Unicentre may have been surprised to see seats in the couch lounge replaced by tables full of free stuff. Organized by the Campus Sustainability Office, the free store aimed to reduce waste on campus and in the community.

“It is a store where we take donated or discarded items, clean them up, and then offer them back to the campus community for free,” said Jonathan Rausseo, sustainable development manager at the U of O’s Campus Sustainability Office.

The items for the store are collected by the office during their annual “dump and run,” where they gather stuff left by students in residence when they move out in April.

“[As] all the students move out of campus, we collect the things that were discarded or left behind,” said Rausseo. “We clean them up [to] give half the stuff to local charities. The other half of the stuff we keep and give away at free stores.”

Although for the majority of the campus population, the free store on last week was the first of the year, the Campus Sustainability Office hosted a separate one for international students during frosh week.

“We do a secret free store for international students because a lot of international students get here and they pay for residence, but in other countries residence doesn’t mean the same thing,” said Rausseo. “They kind of expect that they will have forks, plates, toasters, and that kind of stuff, which is not the case [at the U of O].”

Rausseo explained the goal of the free store is to divert waste from landfills while helping those in need.

“The majority of the stuff people are getting rid of is the stuff that people are going to need as they get in [to university],” said Rausseo. “[In] the last year, we diverted at least four tonnes [of waste from the landfill] through free stores.”

The free store is set up on the last Wednesday of each month, the next one being on Oct. 26. Rausseo encouraged students to check out the store next month.

“It is worthwhile for people to come out and take a look,” said Rausseo. “I’ve seen everything from MacBooks to lululemon pants.”

—Christopher Radojewski and Jane Lytvynenko