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SWAP: Surplus With A Purpose

Got an extra microscope or file cabinet sitting around not being used? Why not SWAP it? 

SWAP, otherwise known as “Surplus With A Purpose,” is a new program launched on April 19 with an internal website that allows Medical School departments to post surplus office supplies, furniture, or laboratory equipment so others on campus can put them to good use – and keep them out of the landfill. 

SWAP is the latest initiative developed through Resource Max, an employee group that works to optimize operations at the Medical School. “It’s better for our environment to redistribute items instead of throwing them away,” said Scott Dziewietin, senior project manager in the information services department and a project manager for the Resource Max committee. “We hope that departments will look at the SWAP site first before purchasing an item, to see if there’s a used one out there. And if they have surplus or excess items, we hope people will be green and recycle them through SWAP.” 

The SWAP website is not available for the general public, but is hosted on the UMass Chan intranet.

Using the straightforward format, individuals can search for items by category, or add information about surplus materials to the listing. “All they do is post it and, just like Craig’s List, if someone is interested, they contact that department,” Dziewietin said. The initial plan is to keep listings live on the site for 90 days, however, “we will monitor the progress of the SWAP site, and adjust as needed going forward,” he said. 

Prior to the launch of SWAP, the school’s purchasing department and warehouse hosted separate websites for posting surplus items. “We wanted to consolidate the information and make it easier for Medical School departments both to post and find things,” explained Dziewietin. “Also, when labs need to do a clean-out after their grant is done, we wanted to make sure that the materials, from microscopes to chairs, get recycled internally, instead of getting thrown out or left in the warehouse.” 

The SWAP site is limited to school-based items. People are not allowed to post personal items they would like to sell or trade. In addition to the environmental benefits of SWAP, Resource Max also hopes the program will end up saving the school money. “If the new site can facilitate an exchange, then for example a small lab that might need a microscope won’t have to go out and buy one,” Dziewietin said. “Nothing wrong with saving money and being green at the same time.” 

Individuals with questions about the SWAP website can contact Scott Dziewietin at or 

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