Free stuff and a new home for their lightly used clutter, what more could a university student ask for? If there is anything to be learned from student events, it is that everybody loves free things. The best time to swap old clutter for some exciting new clutter may be the UVSS Stuff Swap in the Michèle Pujol Room on April 7, 8, and 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event holds the promise of clothes, shoes, household items, and more.
“Lots of students at the end of the year are moving around, changing locations and they need to pick up new stuff for their new house and they need to get rid of stuff from their old house,” said UVSS Director of Finance Matt Hammer. “I think it’s great to be able to make sure some of that stuff doesn’t go in the landfill and that people can get stuff from other people second hand.”
The UVSS is working with Waste Services, representatives from the Captial Regional District (CRD), and UVic residence services to ensure that the word is heard and that items brought during the event are disposed of properly.
“It has a great environmental impact and it also has a great community-building aspect,” said Hammer, “building a community around the SUB and around campus.”
If items aren’t of swapping calibre, Hammer said the CRD and Waste Services will inform people where and how to dispose of them properly. So basically, they don’t want people bringing their garbage. Organizers will donate any regular items that are not up picked up following the swap to charity or drop them to be recycled.
“It’s just going to be a straight swap, no credit system or anything. People just drop stuff off and pick up stuff you want,” said Hammer. Last year, student group Common Energy organized the event as well as a smaller scale event in the fall, but Hammer is hoping to “amp it up a little this year.”
Organizers have promoted the event around residence, especially asking residence Community Leaders to inform their residents. A common issue, seen each year, is dumpsters full of usable items following first-year exam dates.
David Norwell, producer of Essence magazine on campus said, “We dumpster dive behind the residence dumpsters right when there’s turnover, and there’s so much stuff. We’ve pretty much furnished our whole house on that . . . You get your mini-fridges, your stereos, couches, seriously it’s amazing.”
Norwell raised concern that this accumulation of waste could either stem from the first years’ “removed livelihood from real life,” or more simply not enough time following their last exam to properly dispose of their belongings.
“I think the stuff swap is a great attempt, but ultimately falls short,” said Norwell. “I went there last year. I would say it was poorly attended.”
Hammer commented on that subject, saying, “It wasn’t super busy, but it was super cool.”
Norwell felt there should be multiple avenues for more appropriate disposal, “and additionally an awareness campaign to support students in that transition from their life and living situation in residence, to going back home. A lot of students have never dealt with that.” Time will tell if the work the UVSS has put in with ResLife will make Stuff Swap a suitable bridge for students’ post-exam excess-stuff struggle.