On March 26 and 27, the College of Communications Green Team (COMMunity GT) hosted their first ‘freeshop.’
The freeshop was set up similar to a yard sale around the lobby of Carnegie building. Four folding tables held a variety of lightly used goods ranging from books and CDs to kitchenwares and seasonal decorations. Throughout the two days of the event, everyone was welcome to come in and take whatever items they wanted, providing the previously abandoned goods with a new use.
The freeshop was deemed a success. At the end of the two days, the majority of the items had been claimed and everything left was able to be recycled. Brenda Johnson, a staff assistant for the College of Communication’s Office of Academic Services and member of the COMMunity GT, said the event benefited both the college and GT.
“I think the freeshop made faculty, staff and students more aware of the recycling efforts that are shaping the College’s sustainable culture,” said Johnson. “It also increased awareness of our GT’s presence in the College and allowed those participating to feel good about actually doing something instead of simply talking to raise awareness for sustainability.”
COMMunity GT members were inspired to create the event after seeing lightly used items lying abandoned throughout Carnegie building. Further discussion prompted the GT members to start collecting these items as well as personal donations from faculty and staff to be reused and recycled.
According to Johnson, the COMMunity GT aims to host a larger version of the event in the fall, possibly outside of the Nittany Mall. Moving forward, they hope to collaborate with GTs from other colleges or maybe even spark a partnership with Trash to Treasure.
Johnson encourages other GTs to try hosting their own freeshops, saying that the event had a noticeable impact and required little effort to set up.
Here are some tips from the COMMunity GT on how to host a freeshop:
Start collecting early
Johnson said that they began collecting items sometime in January for the March event
Promote the event well in advance
The COMMunity GT recommends starting with word - of - mouth promotion at around the same time collections begin. Within two months of the event, begin emailing faculty members and student listservs. Consider setting up posters within 2-3 weeks of the event.
Make the space appear aesthetically pleasing
“Even just placing tablecloths on the tables and using table tents to organize the different goods made the event look neater and more professional,” said Johnson.
Cooperate with faculty and staff
You don’t want your efforts to be seen in a negative light for inconveniencing others. The College of Communications administration was initially concerned that the event would create a disorganized mess in the lobby, but allowed the event to proceed after being shown the plans for the layout and assured that someone would staff the area at all times.
Keep a customer log
This will allow you to see who came through, what they took, what they came looking for and what they thought about the event.
If you want to collaborate with the COMMunity GT or simply seek more advice, please contact Brenda Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 814 - 865 - 1503.