Free Store and 2019 Move-Out
Worthmore Free Store
The Worthmore Free Store provides access to room furnishings and other supplies for students who may otherwise face cost or transport barriers in obtaining such items. Complementing this environmental and social mission, Worthmore aims to reduce waste by fostering a culture of reuse and preventing unnecessary purchases. As a “free” store (where all items cost $0), Worthmore is an alternative economic practice that challenges students to think creatively about resource sharing. It is located in Willets basement.
Students leave a lot of stuff behind when they move out of res halls at the end of the academic year. In 2017, for example, Worthmore collected over 4,700 hangers, 100 lamps, 80 trash cans, and 60 fans. In order to prevent these items from being thrown in dumpsters (and incinerated at the Covanta incinerator in nearby Chester, PA), Green Advisors and Worthmore student workers collect donated items from designated res hall lounges across campus.
Donations are then sorted into two categories. Items that are frequently needed by students (e.g. hampers, textbooks, lamps) will be brought to the Worthmore Free Store. Other items will be donated to charities through our off-campus hauler, GreenDrop.
Your efforts to transport and sort your own items in res hall lounges show respect for the time, effort, and safety of our EVS staff, Worthmore student workers, and GAs. Click here to learn more about the donation drop-off locations.
- What is expected of me for taking care of the designated lounge spaces?
Students are asked to bring all re-usable items to designated lounges, typically on the bottom floor, and sort items into pre-marked areas that are set up during finals. There will be two main spaces: one for Worthmore Free Store donations, and one for Off-Campus donations.
- We need everyone’s participation to take responsibility for your communal spaces.
- Do not remove tape or move lounge furniture back into taped areas. This will negatively impact the EVS staff and student workers in your building.
- If it’s really trash, do not donate it!
- ALWAYS fold cardboard boxes before recycling.
- What can I donate?
When deciding whether an item can be donated, be practical and respectful! Donations of partially used, hygienic items—such as shampoo, laundry detergent, notebooks, etc.—are absolutely welcome. Do not donate items that are unhygienic or contain any personal identification.
During move-out, please place all donated items in bins in the correct designated area. For example, clothing goes in the large, GreenDrop cardboard box. Learn more here about which items will and will not be accepted as donations during move-out. The Free Store also accepts a more limited number of items year-round during weekly open hours.
- When can I donate?
Each year, res hall donation sites are set up right around the time that classes end during the spring semester. These donation sites are held open until a day or two after Commencement. (We can't be exact with the days because both setting up and breaking down the nearly 30 sites takes the Worthmore team a few days on each end!)
You can also donate a more limited number of items to the Free Store year-round by stopping by during weekly open hours in Willets.
- What is the recent history of Worthmore?
Worthmore began with the move-out of Spring 2017, replacing the Trash2Treasure summer sale that operated from 2007 to 2015. Due to a combination of factors, we decided to discontinue Trash2Treasure and to consider alternative means to make use of the items students leave behind. Because the sale took place over the summer, Trash2Treasure was formerly inaccessible to most Swarthmore students despite selling items that students really need. By saving items for our upcoming campus free store, we hope to help the needs of incoming and returning students. Furthermore, the previous model for the sale required hundreds of volunteer hours on the part of staff and significant funding to pay student workers. By using any lounge as a collection point, the previous system left EVS staff with the burden of transporting, sorting, and separating donations from trash.
- Who is involved in the planning process?
Worthmore is primarily run by students (move-out student workers, GAs, and volunteers), with ongoing support from Environmental Services, Office of Student Engagement, and the Office of Sustainability. Key contacts are:
Wendy Wu, GA Worthmore Coordinator
Melissa Tier, Sustainability Manager
Chip Proctor, EVS Manager