Medley Of Finds At 'Duke Free Store'

Variety of items to swap awaits Duke community

A collection of books and VHS tapes were recently featured at the Free Store, along with a wide variety of other donated items. Photo by Bryan Roth.

A box of used women's shoes. A road map for the New England region. And ... packets of table sugar?

Along with binders, notebooks, pens and hanging folders, this is a sample of items recently found at the Duke Recycles Free Store. The Free Store allows Duke students, staff and faculty to donate and/or take any gently used office supplies, books, kitchen supplies, or other miscellaneous items. A table of goods can usually be found inside the Bryan Center or just outside the building on The Plaza every other week.

At a recent tabling event for the Free Store, senior Veronica Ciocanel dropped off a large, plastic pitcher and ladle she no longer needed. About a minute later, a passerby snatched the ladle up.

"I don't want to just throw these things out," Ciocanel said. "This is a better option, so at least the item gets used instead of going in the trash."

Participating with the Free Store is easy - everything is free and no donation is necessary to take something. While the store takes nearly all donations, volunteers can't accept anything potentially dangerous, alive or illegal. Drop-offs can be made at the store's table between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on event days. Any Duke-owned property purchased with Duke funds, like computers and office furniture, can't be donated to the Free Store and should be donated through Procurement's Surplus and Storage Program.

"We don't ask for anything specific," explained junior Mohamed Ismail, who helps run the Free Store, "we just want whatever people want to give and is appropriate."

To get a preview of what the Free Store has to offer, Duke community members can "like" the store's Facebook page, which showcases select donations in a "Featured Item of the Day" post before each time the store is set up. The Free Store on March 19 will feature a working Daewoo-brand television.

The store is maintained through a partnership between the Students for Sustainable Living group and Duke Recycles. Faculty and staff are welcome to volunteer to work the Free Store table for as little as 30 minutes each session. Staffing the store's table consists of greeting Duke community members who stop by and answering any questions.

The next Free Store event is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 19.  The remaining Free Store events of the spring semester will take place on April 2 and April 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The table will be set up on The Plaza near the Joe Van Gogh coffee shop or inside the Bryan Center in case of inclement weather. Stay up-to-date on the Free Store by "liking" its Facebook page.