Free Store checks in on move-in day
A line of 70 people winds around the sidewalk as students and parents wait with anticipation for the doors of the Free Store to open at 10:30 a.m. Some have been hovering there anxious to get their hands on free things for almost two hours.
“There was a steady stream of people right up until 11:30 a.m.,” Office of Sustainability member Jonna Korpi, the woman running the store, said. “In the first hour just about everything—the meat of the stuff—went.”
The Free Store was one of the many activities occurring on move-in day for first year students. From 10:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2018, Housing and Residence Life and the Office of Sustainability offered an array of free items for students at Heaney Service Center.
Items up for sale—for free—included microwaves, plates, silverware, decorative items, shower caddies, dish towels, school supplies, mirrors and an entire table of bed risers.
“There was stuff all the way along the back wall and sides,” Korpi said.
Students were allowed to choose up to four items, but that limit did not pertain to everything in the store. For example, four pieces of kitchenware could count as one depending on the size of the item, according to Korpi. After that, they check out.
“That’s to ensure that students have the opportunity to move through and get a couple of things,” Korpi continued. “All [they] need is their student ID.”
All of the items in the store have been donated by UMD students. Every year, Housing collects donations from students moving out. In past years, they have donated to places such as thrift shops and non-profits. However, this year, they recognized a different need for the items.
They saw students looking through at the donations last year saying ‘Oh I could use this or this!’ According to Korpi, this action struck a chord in Housing and they decided to give these items to students for free in the fall.
“When [students] are moving in, they’re spending a lot of money off campus getting more stuff for their rooms,” Korpi said. “So, if it helps them not have to spend as much money on their first day of class, then all the better.”
While this was the first year for the Free Store, it doesn’t seem like it will be the end.
“Housing is really jazzed about it,” Korpi continued. “The response from the students and parents and the online social media community has been really positive.”
Incoming first year student Alyssa Klancher was brought there by a post she saw on social media. She really liked having this available.
“When I saw it on Facebook, I thought it that it was really nice to have something like this,” Klancher said.
She said she would definitely go back to the store if it is offered next year.
The main thing on her shopping list? Bed risers. This item seemed to be a trend for students as Rachel Kuhlman, another first year student, was also on the hunt for them.
“Yeah, it’s helpful because I forgot some things,” Kuhlman said. “I couldn’t find bed risers anywhere, but there’s a lot here so that’s really nice.”
At the end of the day, almost everything had gone, and the small portion that was left was donated to Savers.