Students living in the International House (Murray Living Center) initiated a "freecycle" program that provides the campus community with a sustainable way to give back and provides incoming international students housing necessities.
When students move out at the end of winter semester, Derek Plumb, assistant living center director, said international students will reach out to campus community to collect pots and pans, silverware, dishes, clothes hangers, small appliances, and other household items in good condition. The collected items will then be donated to next year’s incoming international students.
Douwe Driehuis, an International House resident assistant, realized the benefits a program like this would have shortly after he arrived at Grand Valley from the Netherlands.
“I arrived at GVSU with only my clothes, I immediately had to go out and buy everything I needed to build up a new existence,” he said. “It can get expensive, and if this program would have been available to me that would have been a great help.”
Most international students at Grand Valley find themselves in a similar situation, Plumb said, and it can add to their overall study abroad cost.
Collection boxes will be set up in upperclass-student living centers. International students arriving at Grand Valley in the fall semester will then be invited to a market-style event to shop for items at no cost to them.
“We’ve already had one successful run, collecting things last year and giving them out this past fall,” Plumb said. “We’re hoping to create a critical mass amount of stuff, so that way it can be freecycled with each incoming group of international students. Not only is this program super sustainable, but it’s also helping to create a culture of giving back to one’s community.”