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DU Sustainability to Host Secondhand Sale During Move-In

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Emma Atkinson

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DU Sustainability Intern Jacob Tonozzi, rescuing a lightly used storage container from the dumpster last Move Out.

DU Sustainability Intern Jacob Tonozzi, rescuing a lightly used storage container from the dumpster during last year's Move Out.

Getting everything you need for college can be difficult. You likely haven’t seen your dorm room yet—how can you know how much wall space you’ll have for decorating or whether or not you need to buy extra storage? Move-in day can mean multiple trips to Target or Walmart in order to get your space furnished in the way you want it.

Sounds chaotic, right? That’s one of the reasons why the University of Denver's Center for Sustainability wants to change how you shop on move-in day.

“I've seen so many of my friends move out of their dorms throughout the years, and there is so much stuff that they end up throwing away—stuff that's really good, that can definitely be reused, that doesn't need to be thrown away,” says Yuliya Kim, a rising DU senior and an intern at the Center for Sustainability.

Every year, the Center hosts a secondhand sale during move-in week, where first-year students—and those looking to spruce up their off-campus apartments—can find a little bit of everything. The shop will sell everything from shower caddies and kitchen utensils to clothes and home décor, all pre-loved and at a discounted price.

The items in the secondhand sale are all donations picked up from students during the previous academic year’s move-out week. The Center collects these items and sorts them into three categories: Things that can be re-sold, things that can be passed on to other organizations as donations and things that should just be thrown away.

Julia Senecal, the assistant director at the Center, says the team has learned over the years what is likely to sell at the secondhand sale and what is better off handed over to outside charity organizations. They partner with a variety of entities, like mattress recycling organization Bedder World, to make sure that as few items go to waste as possible.

“Another nonprofit we're really excited to partner with is called Colectivo de Paz,” Senecal says. “They were actually started by a DU alum, and they support folks who have just moved to the United States and need help accumulating household items—furniture, clothing—and also folks who are living on the street.”

Derek Brannon, the internship program manager for the Center, says he’s always a smidge surprised at what students are willing to part with as they move out of the dorms.

“Maybe there's an element of privilege there because it's always like, ‘Are you kidding me? We found this brand-new Patagonia jacket. Why didn't they take that, with tags on it?’” he says.

Patagonia jackets aren’t the only things students can find at the move-in sale. The team says they’ve received donations of things like TVs, Wii gaming consoles, expensive vegan Doc Martens shoes and more—ranging from the practical to the bizarre.

“We found this wall hanging, and it said ‘Phoebe Bridgers’ at the top, and then it was like a blonde silhouette. But then it was Benedict Cumberbatch, his face on it, which is insane,” Brannon recalls.

Kim says the move-in sale is a great way for students to participate in the Center’s efforts to reduce campus waste. 

“It's just nice being able to have the space to really promote this cycle of using stuff all over again,” she says. “And it keeps it in the [DU] community, which is really cool. It would be cool to also give it to everyone outside of the community, but it's nice that we get to keep that circulating in our community.”

The 2023 Center for Sustainability move-in sale will take place Sept. 5 and Sept. 9 on the first floor of the Centennial Halls building.

For more information about the DU Thrift Store, where students can also purchase trending clothing items at a discounted price, visit the DU Thrift Store’s Instagram @duthriftstore.