On the morning of Saturday, Sept. 1, students in search of furniture and other household items flocked to Waste Not, an annual used home-goods sale sponsored by the Office of Sustainability. All of the sale’s proceeds of are donated to charitable causes.
This year, Waste Not was organized by three sustainability interns: Katie Shewfelt ’20, Daniel Osofsky ’20, and Emma Rose Borzekowski ’19 along with Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst. This is the first year that students worked at Waste Not on a volunteer basis, whereas in past years students have been paid to operate and manage the event. Although this transition likely deterred students on work-study from coming to campus early to work the tag sale, it also enabled the office of sustainability to cut costs and in turn donate a larger percentage of its proceeds to charity.
“Last year, we donated $4,000 to Amazing Grace and Prudence Crandall Domestic Violence Shelter here in Middletown, financial aid, and United for Puerto Rico,” Shewfelt wrote in an email to The Argus. “We’re not sure yet which organizations we’ll donate to this year, but we’ll be sure to update the student body as soon as we know. This year is especially exciting because we’ve raised the most gross proceeds in Waste Not history, over $12,000!”
The sale was divided into two different locations, one at 44 Brainerd Avenue and one at 58 Fountain Avenue. The Brainerd location boasted a wide range of items from mini fridges to laundry baskets to nail polish. The Fountain sale contained larger pieces of furniture, including couches, futons, and love-seats. At the Fountain location, Waste Not volunteers let in 10 shoppers at a time, instructing them to go directly to their preferred piece of furniture and to take a seat. Once they were seated, they were instructed to raise their hand, indicating they were ready to pay.
Some eager students, desperate to find the perfect couch or chaise or recliner, arrived at the furniture sale at 8:30 a.m., an hour and a half before it actually began. Anik Bernstein ’20, who volunteered for Waste Not this past weekend, noted that this year’s sale was less chaotic than it has been in the past. In previous years, students have waited in line for hours to increase their chances of securing a nice couch, violently racing their peers and competitors to sit on their chosen piece furniture. This year, the Waste Not volunteers made it clear that they would not tolerate disorder—any pushing or shoving or aggressive maneuvering and the miscreant would immediately be asked to leave the sale. Thanks to the change, the sale ran without incident.
While Waste Not itself might be over this year, its impact lives on in houses all across campus. In the rug that ‘really ties the room together,’ in the shelves that squeeze perfectly into a high rise bedroom, in the spatula that flips pancakes with the perfect pizazz, one can see how Waste Not both encourages sustainability and serves the Wesleyan community.
“Waste Not contributes to the Wesleyan community on so many different levels—by reducing literal waste on campus, helping to prevent students from wasting their money on overpriced essential supplies, and promoting responsible consumption,” Shewfelt wrote. “Students get access to products they otherwise may not have, while knowing that every dollar they spend goes towards a good cause.”
Sasha Linden-Cohen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.