Free Store for VCU students, faculty to open in August

VCU opening a free goods store

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The new college semester for VCU starts Aug. 17 and the university is providing a new way for students to save money this school year.

At the start of the fall semester, VCU will open the Free Store, which will be located at 201 N. Belvidere Street. It’s an on-campus shop that will allow members of the VCU community to donate or take home free stuff.

“We have mini fridges, microwaves, coffee pots any and every kind of storage container,” VCU director of sustainability Erin Stanforth said.

Every semester, students leave behind dozens of things in their dorm when they leave for college breaks or end of the school year. Now, those items can find another home instead of being trashed.

“Some students have to leave things behind because maybe they don’t have space in their care or maybe they don’t have time to pack everything up,” Stanforth said. “We’re hoping to establish a culture of reuse and re-purpose on campus. The purpose of the free store is to divert items from the landfill but also alleviate financial burden from the VCU community.”

The store allows any active VCU student or employee to come in and take home school supplies, electronics and small furniture.

“They don’t have to spend $50 on a mini fridge. They can come here and get one for free," Stanforth said. “That’s another $50 they can put towards their education.”

At the end of the semester, students can pay it forward by donating their stuff back to the store.

“We will take anything that is not fabric or upholstered in anyway, and we also won’t take any used personal hygiene items like a used brush or a used comb,” Stanforth said. “The hope is that we can reduce the cost that students are having to pay in for items not necessarily included in their tuition.”

The store will officially open Aug. 19 at 8 a.m. and will be accessible to all VCU students, faculty and staff with a valid VCU ID.

Items can be donated at the RamBikes building at 201 N. Belvidere St., which will share space with the Free Store. To schedule a donation, contact sustain@vcu.edu.

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