Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT Surplus REuse Store recovers, resells UT merchandise

Kennedy Weatherby
A woman looks through old University of Texas cheerleading uniforms at the UT ReUse store on Sept. 21, 2023.

A maze of unique furniture, gently-used office supplies, iconic record vinyls and art pieces compromise the merchandise of the Surplus REuse Store, the University of Texas’ outlet to sustainably sell University-exclusive items and memorabilia. 

Open on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-12 p.m at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, the Surplus REuse store collects, repurposes and resells UT-affiliated goods to support the University’s Zero Waste Goal, according to the University’s website. 

“It helps promote a culture of reuse,” said Anne Liu, environmental engineering senior and REuse Store intern. “It also gives people an opportunity to have a bit of something that might mean a lot to them because everything we have is from UT.”

Besides furniture and office supplies, the store also specializes in UT Athletics apparel, wall decorations, books and antiques like the two vintage buttons economics sophomore Cole Heischman purchased for $1 each.

“I’m going to get these two game day pins,” Heischman said, holding up a “Beat Baylor” and an “Beat OU” pin. 

The store’s discount system cycles through four colors representing the levels of discount. Every month spent at the store, an item’s price goes down by 25%. Once an item reaches four months, the store marks it down to $1.

“People will line up outside of the doors and they’ll rush to the items and then they’ll snatch the tags to claim them,” Liu said. “If we run out, they’ll always ask if we have extra in the back.”

In 2017, student interns at the Resource Recovery department developed the business plan for the REuse store, which began operating in 2018, only on Thursdays. As attendance and demand grew, store operations expanded to Saturdays in 2020.

“The most rewarding part for me is we see a lot of interns (where) this is their first job,” surplus store supervisor Luis Alvarado said. “They’re developing a good understanding of sustainability and our zero waste mission, but also professionalism so they can get ready for employment outside of UT.” 

Interns prepare items during the week by restocking and organizing the store and assisting with traditional store operations, like register handling, during store hours. The interns also lead an individual, semester-long project focusing on topics like product analytics or community engagement to showcase at the end of the semester. To increase shopper and student involvement, Liu hopes to expand social outreach on campus.

“In the past, we’ve done tabling together with (the Zero Waste program), but we’ve never done tabling on our own,” Liu said. “Something we wanted to do starting this semester was to also table about the store so more students can hear about us specifically.”

Alvarado reported the store consistently receives truckloads of surplus items from UT departments and divisions. He encouraged customers, new and returning, to check out their new stock.

“Just digging through stuff and seeing what’s showing up, that’s my biggest enjoyment of it,” Alvarado said. “Everyone enjoys coming out, and it’s like they’re digging through treasure.”

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