"One year there was like a five foot tall Scooby Doo stuffed animal. It was enormous, we didn’t know what to do with it. So there’s always something silly, there’s always some little treasure you’ll find like why would someone not want this?"
The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning holds its 13th Annual Community Sale at the Geneva Rec Center Thursday, May 17th. CCESL's Associate Director Jeremy Wattles organizes the sale.
"The community members who go, who line up like an hour early, or an hour and a half early, they’re there for furniture and mini fridges I think or electronics that are in decent shape. They’ll go straight for those things, because mini fridges you know that can cost you $150- 200 bucks. And we’ll be selling them for $30 to $60."
The event used to be call the Barn Sale because it was organized in the Red Barn on campus. Over the years, it's outgrown that space as the organizers have collected useful items left behind at the end of academic year.
"As the story goes, past President Gearan, his wonderful wife Mary was watching one spring semester, at the end of one spring semester, as students were moving out and they were throwing a lot of stuff away and the dumpsters were overflowing. She was pretty concerned. Because as you know we sit here in Geneva between two landfills, one to the east one to the west, and I think that was the original idea, can we do something about this. Not only are too many items end up in the landfill which is an environmental hazard and has public health effects that are negative, but there are things that are in decent shape that maybe other people could use."
HWS has a sustainability manager, Michael Amadori. While people who show up to the Community Sale may be looking for bargains, it also serves the campus commitment to the local environment and the community.
"One it falls under materials management, we as a society buy a lot of things. If you’ve ever seen the documentary Story of Stuff, she makes the claim that 99% of what we buy is disposed of within one year. So we live in kind of a throw-away-society and it’s not sustainable at all. It’s not good for the environment, its not good for the economics either. So the community sale kind of helps solve both problems. One, we are able to take a lot of perfectly good material that maybe otherwise would have been thrown into a landfill or even discarded improperly and instead of letting it be disposed of we are able to take it and offer it for sale at a very affordable price to be in the community."
And the Community Sale doesn't just keep items out of landfills, it's benefits HWS outreach into the community.
"Geneva 2020 is collective impact initiative that past President Gearan started to support the public schools. The main goal is to help all children in our community from cradle to career. Help them every step along the way, are they entering school with the building blocks they need to achieve grade level in literacy, can we get as many people as possible no what your ability level or economic class or your races to graduate and then after graduation are you progressing some kind of living wage vocation or on to college."
The Community Sale happens Thursday, May 17th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Geneva Rec Center on Exchange Street.