By Erika Byler
The Bluffton University Sustainability Club has begun placing Swap Boxes on each floor in the dorms to promote sustainable living. Students can put old clothes, school supplies, books and other things in the boxes for others to take.
Irena Xhari a junior from Albania, suggested the idea earlier this fall. She said her idea was inspired by the “Free Boxes” at Hesston (Kan.) College, where Xhari recently got her associate degree.
Taylor Lewis, junior, is president of the Sustainability Club.
“[Sustainability Club] is to promote sustainability on campus and generate awareness and inform students on what they can do to live a more sustainable life,” said Lewis.
Lewis said there were already a couple floors in Ropp with a space for swapping old clothes. In past years, a table was used instead of cardboard boxes.
Xhari came up with the idea to spread the Swap Boxes to the rest of campus.
She said it could be a way to help build community by encouraging students to visit residence buildings other than their own.
According to Xhari, students at Hesston College would often go through the dorms and digging through all of the free boxes on campus. They would call this “Free Box Shopping.”
Xhari hopes this same practice will help build community on campus.
Mary Bender, a senior who also attended Hesston College, lives on one of the floors that already had a Swap Box. She said that the boxes are used in a fairly similar way.
“I think it’s a good way for people to get rid of things if they need to,” said Bender.
Josie Corwin, senior, created her own swap box on her floor after discussing the idea of simplicity in her Senior Capstone class. After discussing the idea in class, Corwin said she read a book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
“It inspired me to get rid of about three-fifths of my clothes,” Corwin said.
She went on to say she put her clothes in a tub in the hallway with a sign telling people to take what they want and the rest will be donated.
Lewis says that the items left in the boxes will be donated at the end of fall semester. She said the club plans on going through and donating the items every few weeks during spring semester.
Lewis said that they don’t have boxes in all of the dorms yet, but they will be coming as soon as the club gets more boxes.
The items will be donated to the Et Cetera Shop, a thrift shop in downtown Bluffton.