How the Barnard Green Sale reduced waste on campus

November 18, 2021

As Barnard College aims for zero waste by 2030, they are a small part of the larger circular city effort in New York City. Their annual Fall Move-in Green Sale (and subsequent Spring move-out “Give and Go Green”) sets out to get students gently used items needed for their dorms and living spaces. Getting these items back into use and recirculation helps extend their life cycle and diverts landfill waste. 

However, Barnard had a problem.

The sale was one day only and students had to arrive in-person to see what was available to them. Useful items would often go unclaimed. Access to these items was extremely limited to just 4 hours, meaning students had to get there and get there early.

In searching for solutions, the college enlisted Rheaply.

At the end of August 2021, a delegation of Team Rheaply convened in New York City for the Barnard Green Sale. Barnard College leadership had been in discussion with Rheaply for some time before, learning how to adopt the resource exchange and utilize it to help students find things they need for their dorms at a low price.

Back-to-school season is stressful enough for students without having to consider how to find items for their dorms and living spaces. Barnard College’s Office of Sustainability and Climate Action facilitates a yearly Green Sale to help students find lightly used items at a low price for this reason specifically. Items of quality that were left on campus, found in the city, or sourced through buy-nothing groups are sold to students and all profits go to the college’s Climate Action Grant. 

This year, Barnard sought Rheaply to support the Green Sale from planning to execution. A storage company and a moving company both donated their services in a partnership with Barnard as well. 

Presale process

Opening up a presale through Rheaply allowed students to have access to items well before the in-person sale. This provided a longer window to browse items and made the process of purchasing easier for Barnard students. Students were able to sign up and claim items the night before the sale and pick them up in person the next day. Besides being a huge physical help in moving items from storage to campus, the Rheaply team also helped list and upload each item to the Rheaply platform.

Barnard Green Sale

During the actual Green Sale, members of Team Rheaply set up the space, sorting and categorizing items for students to peruse. In coordination with Barnard Eco Reps, presale orders were pulled and set aside for pickup before the event began. 

As the Green Sale opened to the general student body, Rheaply helped with item checkout and inventorying throughout the day. Admins in the Office of Sustainability such as Sandra Goldmark, Director, and Leslie Raucher, Associate Director were instrumental in the Green Sale over the years and were able to uncover hidden needs of students and capture feedback on site.

What happened next:

The Barnard Green Sale was a resounding success. As the in-person sale ended in August, the Rheaply resource exchange stayed available for students to access and purchase needed items. With a total of 685 users signing up at Barnard, the college was able to take over $18,000 in value and extend it to students through this incredibly valuable service.

Opening the campus up to the Rheaply platform during the Green Sale allowed students to continue reusing and recirculating items throughout the year – creating a more accessible and ongoing resource exchange for Barnard college students.

Future possibilities

Rheaply can help your organization develop salvage and swap events in addition to growing a diverse network of community partners to reuse and recirculate resources.

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