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From Virtual to Reality: SWAP Room to Open

Beginning October 7, 2015, it’s going to get a lot easier to SWAP useful items on campus, with the opening of a SWAP room in the main medical school building.

SWAP, otherwise known as “Surplus With A Purpose,” began several years ago as an internal website for students, faculty and staff to post surplus office supplies, small furniture or laboratory equipment so others on campus could put the items to good use. After a flurry of initial activity, however, the SWAP site slowed down.

“We felt there was a greater opportunity to reuse many items that are just sitting around,” said Suzanne Wood, sustainability and energy manager at UMMS. “The SWAP website was a good start, but we could be exchanging a lot more material.”

The SWAP room is S2-209, located on the second floor of the main medical school building near the Sherman Center walkway. To launch the new SWAP system, a collection day is scheduled for October 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On that day, people are encouraged to bring surplus items to the SWAP room, or to the information desk in the lobby of the Lazare Research Building. Like the SWAP website, the new room is only for items used on campus, not personal items brought from home.

“We will be accepting office and lab equipment and supplies, but no chemicals, biologicals, or isotopes. And, of course, any lab equipment must be appropriately decontaminated before being transported,” Wood said. “That being said, if an item is in good working condition and you can carry it down to the SWAP room, it’s acceptable.”

Large pieces of furniture or major capital items are not included. Those items can still be repurposed, but should be handled through the UMMS Purchasing Department’s asset moving policy.

After the first collection day, the inventory will be evaluated, and a schedule for the SWAP room hours will be posted, Wood said. “We plan to operate on the honor system,” Wood said. “People will be able to access the room and drop off or take away any SWAP items.”