Trade books, clothes at eco-friendly ReUse event during Earth Week

Unwanted items will be up-for-grabs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Rock Wednesday in a free give-and-take event in celebration of Earth Week.

The event is called ReUse and was organized by Student Government’s Energy Conservation Organization Agency (ECO) in partnership with Goodwill.

ReUse is open to all students, faculty and staff. Anyone who has unwanted items of any variety are free to leave them at The Rock, while anyone else is free to take the items left by others, free of charge. Items not picked up at the end of the day will be donated to Goodwill.

“Some students will walk by and just drop stuff off, and other students will drop by and pick it up,” said Vince Hsu, an ECO member who helped begin ReUse in spring 2013. “That’s the whole concept of it. It’s really cool how one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

In the past, ReUse has seen clothes, books and more unique items like old Polaroid cameras, coffee makers and desk drawers.

“I’d probably say the Polaroid [was the most interesting item] because it was so old-fashioned,” Hsu said. “It was surprising that one of our students had that and was willing to part ways with it.”

The items do not necessarily have to be functional, and there are no rules for donating or taking.

“We sometimes have people who will donate like eight bags of stuff, and then some people come and see something they like and they’re just welcome to take it,” Hsu said. “It’s not like an exchange. If you’re able to donate, then we really appreciate it, but if not, you’re still free to take whatever you want.”

Benjamin Slavin, the chair of ECO, said the ReUse is “the result of Vince [Hsu]’s ingenuity.” After seeing the success of a similar event at Duke University, Hsu reached out to Goodwill to bring ReUse to the University of Miami.

“It worked really well at Duke,” Hsu said. “So we thought we would try to implement it. I contacted Goodwill, and the relationship just blossomed. Now every semester, we’ll contact them and they’re always willing to help us out.”

Previously, ReUse was held at the farmer’s market, as organized by President of The Market Company Claire Tomlin.

“I have been working with the Student Government for the past three years to bring special events to the market – always welcome the opportunity to expand offerings to the students, faculty and friends who attend the market,” Tomlin said.

Slavin said operating in the farmers’ market was successful in the past.

“Our first ReUse took place in the farmers’ market during the last week of classes in hopes of up-cycling as many items as possible from dorm rooms and other students looking to clean out their apartments,” Slavin said.

However, he hopes that a change of location will increase exposure of the event.

“Though we filled over three Goodwill trolleys that day, this year’s ReUse is shaping up to be the best one yet,” he said. “… ReUse is a store for which there’s no bill.”