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Swap That Couch

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Saving Money and the Environment, Recycling Furniture, and Helping Classmates

Alex Aschenbrenner came up with the furniture swap idea.

It’s that time of year again. As students prepare for summer arrangements, they need to find homes for unwanted furniture. This year, students have a new option: UMD Furniture Swap.

Senior Business and Economics student and Better Neighbors Coordinator, Alex Aschenbrenner was inspired to organize the sounding board by the UMD Book Swap and Ticket Swap. The Furniture Swap is a place for students to join together in an effort to reduce waste.

“UMD Furniture Swap connects students in a sustainable way,” Aschenbrenner said. “They can put ads out for things they have in a safe place. It’s not like Craigslist; it’s UMD only, and there won’t be any spam.”

The swap is set up with its own Facebook page, which can be found easily by searching “UMD Furniture Swap” on Facebook. Aschenbrenner set up the page on March 22, and students started using it soon after. Aschenbrenner says it’s very simple to use. “Just "like" the Facebook page and then you get notifications of who’s posting what.”

In addition to the new page, the Better Neighbors Program will again sponsor UMD Furniture Pick-up along with UMD Facilities Management from May 7 through June 1 from 8 am to 6 pm  The service is for current UMD students living near campus who have furniture and other unwanted household goods too large for normal garbage or recycling services. Students need to make an appointment for the pick-up service. There's a form to fill out and then students can call Facilities Management for an appointment at 218-726-8262.

“I’ve used Furniture Pick-up before,” Aschenbrenner said. “It’s easy. You just set up an appointment, wrap your couch or chair in the provided bag, and they take it away.” UMD Facilities Management operates the program and picked up over 1,000 pieces last year. That cost about $35,000.

After all that furniture has been hauled out, students can get to work on their closets. This year, there will be a site for charitable donations of clothing and other items set up by the Goodwill near the Civil Engineering Building in Lot F. The Goodwill truck will be available for six days, from noon-6 pm, May 10-12 and May 31-June 2.

"When students use the Furniture Swap first," Aschenbrenner said, "It will cut down on the number of items that will get hauled away. Facilities Management does a great job. All three of these programs are helping UMD be more sustainable."

Written by Maeggi Licht, April 2012

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