Grand Valley Magazine Winter 2015 - (Page 20)

Another man's treasure Finding new life for university surplus by Nate Hoekstra An industrial meat grinder sits on a shelf, worn but clean, next to a Starbucks-sized cappuccino machine that bears a "make an offer" sign. They're sitting in the same section of Grand Valley's new Surplus Store as saute pans, soup crocks, chef's knives and bundles of silverware that may, at some point on its journey, have spent an extended stay in a dark corner of a dorm room after being "borrowed" from Campus Dining by a student. A few shelves over sits a used electric typewriter, dozens of computer monitors, a handful of iPhones, and a collection of hats, scarves and gloves. The common bond of the items for sale is that they once served someone - student, faculty or staff member - at Grand Valley. But all things have a life cycle, an expected useful period during which the university realized its investment. At the end of that life, the value is nearly gone, but the physical material remains. That's where Aaron Caccamo and his staff at the surplus store take over. Caccamo, the senior strategic sourcing specialist in the Procurement Services department, oversees the surplus store as part of a larger 20 Winter '15 team effort that he said serves to "responsively repurpose" the materials that a community the size of a small city no longer needs. "What we do here is keep items out of the landfill and generate some revenue from the university's old stuff," Caccamo said. "We're responsible for disposal of university inventory, whether that's by selling it, recycling it or scrapping it." Caccamo's unit gets a lot of stuff and a wide variety of items. Most businesses need to deal with old furniture, office supplies and technology, but universities have the equipment of a small city. The surplus store takes in couches, cookie sheets, golf clubs, lawn mowers, fume hoods from chemistry labs, microscopes and much more. "If you've seen it on campus before, it will come through our doors someday," Caccamo said. When a piece of equipment has outlived its useful life for the department or college that bought it in the first place, they call Caccamo or Tony Marinelli, a former student worker and the store's current assistant manager, who organize a time to pick up the materials. It goes on a truck and is taken to the store on Front Street in Grand Rapids next to the L. William Seidman Center. Then a step-by-step process begins.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Grand Valley Magazine Winter 2015

Campus News
Donor Impact
RMSC celebrates silver anniversary
Get a job
Another man's treasure
Q&A George Grant Jr.
Off the Path
Focal Point
Alumni News

Grand Valley Magazine Winter 2015