Here are some examples of our attitudes towards goods. Even though, in the case of fashion, what goes around comes around, many people still just throw clothes away when they think they are old or outdated. People buy many pens and notes even though they already have enough stationeries when the new semester begins. Changing smartphones every time a new one comes out can also occur frequently. Nowadays, people do not seem to recognize the value of resources. They just discard such things if they think they are useless or if some new items are introduced which look more fresh and state-of-the-art. However, those which are impractical to you can be invaluable resources to someone else. The Sharing Center at the University of Seoul (UOS) is a place which endows new value to these abandoned goods.
What is the Role of the Sharing Center?
Located one on the first floor of Jeonnong Hall, the Sharing Center opens its door to every member of UOS and every citizen of Seoul every Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Its aim is to reuse dumped resources and to become a link between UOS members and Seoul citizens. When you first step into the Center, many donated goods will welcome you. Most of the goods are clothes, but there are other various kinds of items such as books, accessories, commodities, and even baby products. Because they are all secondhand, some people might be worried about the quality of the items. They will be free from anxiety if they understand how these donated goods became available. All of the items people bring to the Center cannot be on a selling list. The staff at the Center receives items first or foremost from people who donate.
After examining the condition of the products, the staff sets a price. Some goods that seem unfit in quality are disposed of. The Center already has a standard to set the price of the goods by comparing them with those at The Beautiful Store, a social enterprise based on recycling and sharing. Finally, when the Center sells the donated products, UOS can use the profit margin for its development fund.
As its primary purpose is to let people know the true meaning of recycling resources, the Center also has tried to become a link between UOS and the local community. The Center, therefore, tried to make this connection by launching an Outdoor Bazaar, which has taken place since 2012 when the Center was founded. The number of bazaars is three each year and not only UOS members but also members of the local community gather and take part in each of them. In 2015, Gangwon-do Province sold their regional specialties and Seongdong Handmade Shoes participated in and merchandised their products. The Central Club of UOS also displayed their talent and many department sat UOS sold donated goods at various booths in front of Jeonnong Hall.
A Helper to Let People Know the Meaning of Sharing
Even though the Center has a good aim, many UOS students are still unaware of it. The manager of the Center, Na-ra Lee, however, said that student participation has been changing for the better. Before the Center was remodeled, people could barely locate it. Most UOS students did not know how they could participate or even of the Center’s existence. Few people visited the Center and even fewer people came in to donate their items. However, after its remodeling in September, many students and residents noticed that there was a donation center at UOS and those who come to the Center to see the products became more interested. Moreover, the number of donators also doubled after people realized the purpose of the Center. Among donators, those who impressed Lee the most were members of the group Sidaedonghaeng, which consists of students from the Department of Social Welfare. They gathered some goods to contribute to the Center for the pure purpose of helping others. Thus, more and more people at UOS are trying to become a part of the Sharing Center.
When asked about what motivates people to donate their goods, Lee pointed out, “At first, many people just came the Center to give their goods which they found while moving. However, they were satisfied when realizing that things that were useless to them became valuable property to other people. Now, people constantly donate secondhand items.”
Many people think donating goods is difficult as donators need a lot of time or a small fortune to help others. That is not true. We can take part in donating objects in our daily lives just by granting our used goods to the Center. The Sharing Center can serve a role in helping students to become an actual part of the recycling process and can change the concept of what a donation means.
After donating your goods, you can also receive a Green Mileage Point. If the staff sets the cost of a product, a donator can get 30 percent of the total estimated price of the donated products in the form of “points.” You can use these “points” as a reward when purchasing coffee in Café-B or at the cafeteria on campus. To get the mileage, you need to register an electronic meal coupon with your Student ID. You can register at the booth located on the first floor of Student Hall, next to self-service ticket dispenser.