The FREE STORE Has Entered The Building

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Photo credit: Jonathan Rausseo

This year is shaping up to be another incredible year for the Free Store. This initiative, originally started by the student members of Green Campus, has grown into a campus phenomenon. The premise of the program is simple; donations are collected and offered freely to the campus community.

In 2006, the Free Store was just a small event where students would bring items they wanted to swap with one another. The whole thing was basically done on two tables and lasted like 2 hours. People liked the event but not too many people participated.

The following year the Free Store got a boost from the Dump & Run. Items collected from the residences after students moved out were added to the tables of the Free Store. The event also started to give away more items than just clothing; morphing the format into a full day event.
Three years ago, the International Office partnered with the Office of Campus Sustainability to create a special Free Store event exclusively for International Students. This created a loyal following of students which in turn created more buzz. The Student Federation also established an official drop off location for the Free Store in their main office and helped promote the event.

Two years ago a second Dump & Run rotation was added, offering a much needed infusion of new items to the Free Store in the winter session. And it was about this time that Community Life struck a partnership with the Office of Campus Sustainability to create a more consistent schedule. Free Stores now became a monthly event.

Last year the Free Store took off in a big way. After having been inspired by the uOttawa experience, two new Free Stores popped up. The first was copied by a Katimavik participant who exported the event to her CEGEP, after having worked at the uOttawa Free Store. The other Free Store was replicated in France by an international student who was motivated by her time in Ottawa. Both events credit the University of Ottawa as their source of inspiration. Meanwhile, back in Ottawa, a smaller version of the Free Store was created at the Student Federation’s Food Bank.

This year the Free Store will celebrate its fifth anniversary. And in an effort to continue to expand the initiative, this year the good people of EcoEquitable are getting involved. They will be offering hemming and clothing modification services. It is hoped that this will further encourage individuals to use the Free Store and perhaps repair some of their own clothing before tossing it out.

The Free Store is always looking for your donations. If you want to know when the next Free Store takes place or if you are interested in donating your old clothes, books, appliances, pictures… anything, please consult our webpage.


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