Rummaging for sales and sustainability

by Jennifer Johnson ,

  • Panhellenic Rummage Sale Opening Days 2016
    Willamette University students shop at the Panhellenic Rummage Sale during Opening Days 2016.
  • Panhellenic Rummage Sale Opening Days 2016
    Willamette University students shop at the Panhellenic Rummage Sale during Opening Days 2016.
  • Panhellenic Rummage Sale Opening Days 2016
    Willamette University students shop at the Panhellenic Rummage Sale during Opening Days 2016.

Students bargain-hunt during an Opening Days event that contributes to Willamette’s waste reduction goals.

Tynan Gable ’18 only needed storage containers and hangers for her apartment, but at the Panhellenic Rummage Sale Thursday, she found much more than she anticipated.

Stacks of reduced-price mini-fridges, lamps, bed risers and shower caddies sat in Jackson Plaza as bargain-hunters quickly snatched up the household necessities that were previously owned by other Willamette students.

On their first day on campus, freshmen, transfer and international students and their parents browsed through wall mirrors, organizers, used books, DVDs and other miscellaneous items, including 400 clothes hangers, five coffee makers and one set of golf clubs. Within minutes of the sale’s opening, most of the prized mini-fridges were sold.

“I think this sale is an awesome idea,” Gable said. “They have some really good deals.”

The concept behind the rummage sale is simple: Reduce, reuse and recycle. Organized by the sorority-based Panhellenic Council, and staffed by volunteers from the university sorority community, the event not only offers students a cheap convenience at the start of the school year but also helps them play a part in reducing waste.

During move-out days last spring, Housing and Community Life, Facilities Services, the Panhellenic Council and the Sustainability Institute worked together to coordinate students’ donation of almost 1,000 cubic feet of clothing and “soft” household items to the United Gospel Mission of Salem and Goodwill. Remaining items were saved to be sold at the rummage sale on the first Opening Day last week.

Joe Abraham, director of the Sustainability Institute, says, “This event makes it easier for our students to reduce consumption, save a little money and contribute to other students’ financial support.”

By the end of the day, the Council had sold nearly everything in the rummage sale and raised $2,340 toward sorority student scholarships, topping last year’s $2,200 in total sales.

Anya Clowers ’18, vice president of administration for the Panhellenic Council and event organizer, says,“It was a great opportunity to do some Panhellenic bonding while also contributing to the university’s sustainability goals.”