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Another room in the Free Market

Like other colleges and any place where people live temporarily, Dartmouth produces a lot of waste. Think about it—after four years, are you seriously going to lug your mini-fridge and too-small jeans back home, especially if you have to fly home? The best solution to this, of course, is to donate or sell your unwanted belongings, but that can take time and effort. Unfortunately, masses of clothing, furniture, appliances, and other perfectly good used items get thrown in the dumpster or abandoned in dorms every year when seniors leave campus. And the same is true even here at Dartmouth.

Our Sustainability Office (whose website you should totally check out, by the way!) is committed to making sure we reduce our waste. But it's a much bigger job than even I realized. I learned the other day that the Sustainability Office has a huge warehouse full of stuff people have left on campus. Since many of our students are here on significant or full financial aid packages and would benefit from free or reduced-price goods—and everyone loves a good deal—it has since become the Sustainability Office's goal to sell or give away those abandoned goods to students and the surrounding community. But how?

One way is through the Free Market, which I visited this weekend with my friend. Run by a few dedicated student volunteers, the Free Market organizes and displays used clothing obtained by the Sustainability Office. And, as per the name, all of the clothes are FREE! The volunteers have also done an excellent job of making sure clothes are in good condition and sorted appropriately.

Another room in the Free Market


The Free Market, as I discovered during my visit, has a fantastic selection. There are a plethora of jackets, shoes, shirts and bottoms of all kinds, and even tons of brand-name clothes that look almost new. I personally got myself an adorable oversized green sweater and an Armani blazer (!!!), and my friend uses the Free Market to grab t-shirts for her studio art projects. Heads up: if you see me wearing a cute tan blazer during one of my info sessions, yes, it's the Armani, and yes, it's just as soft as it looks.

Me wearing my beloved new blazer
Me wearing my beloved new blazer


Grace, the student who began the Free Market, is someone who really cares about our campus community. So are the other volunteers, who have piles and piles of clothes left to sort through. Being sustainable isn't just for the earth—it's also for our community. After all, the more stuff we can avoid throwing out, the more stuff we can donate or pass down to those in need, or simply those who need it next.

My friend in yet another one of the Free Market's rooms
My friend McKenna, standing in yet another one of the Free Market's many rooms


Dartmouth is not necessarily as "susty" as we'd always like to be. You'll see this in the beer cans littered along the street, in the aforementioned warehouse of belongings abandoned in dorms, and even in the criticism of Dartmouth's funding sources. But this campus is also full of people who do want to change that, and who are taking real steps to make it happen. If you're interested in sustainability, the Sustainability Office's programs, such as the Sustainability Sale, the Free Market, the Organic Farm, and Immersion Trips, are fantastic places to start. As for me—I'm definitely volunteering at the Free Market this Friday. Once you come to campus, you should join me in North Mass Hall's basement!

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