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International & inter agency learning: US University reuse program case studies

One way to learn is to make mistakes. Another way to learn is to listen to a teacher. Another way to learn is to talk to people who have done it before.

By talking to others and sharing experiences we learn quicker. What works, what doesnt work. 

When Glenn Feagley, the Lion Surplus Manager at Penn State University said:

“At Penn State University, the Surplus Department can generate up to $2 to $3 million a year and I know a few more universities are doing similar.”

we knew we had to find out more.


America always seems to think big! We wanted to find out more about the surplus property sector and reuse within American Universities to see if there were any good ideas we could present back to our customers. We spoke to surplus and sustainability managers all over USA and produced this report- Read about it here




Thankyou to all the dedicated managers who helped us with this study.


For convenience we thought we would put all of the US Case studies in one place on line so here they are. 

1. Colorado State University Surplus Program Case Study

Jake Drenth runs the Surplus Property Department within the university, a self-funded department that doesn’t get any centralised funding. Their main objective is to provide an opportunity for the reallocation of still-usable items from one area of the University to other areas that have a need for them.

2. Pennsylvania State University Surplus Program Case Study

In this case study we interview Glenn Feagley, the Surplus Property manager for Pennsylvania State University to find out how their system works and seek his tips for success.

3. Southern Oregon University Surplus Program Case Study

Iain Graalum is the Campus Mail Services Supervisor for the Southern Oregon University and supervises all surplus property activities. His responsibilities include locating the items on campus, what department used them, getting pictures and getting as much information as possible about the items to determine their value.


4. Macquarie University Surplus Property Program

Sally Northover is the Property Sustainability Officer for the Macquarie University and has been responsible for implementing and leading a system for furniture asset reuse since 2010. According to Sally, one of the initial problems was that often after offices were refurbished,  “functional furniture was being thrown away, while at the same time we had staff still using desks which were around in the 1970s.”


5. Temple University Surplus Program

The Surplus Department has recently started and has three student employees and has an established budget of $100,000 for the first year. They’re expecting to become self-sustainable and to have a local store in the near future. 

6. University of Pennsylvania Surplus Property Program

David Mazzocco is the Associate Director of Sustainability and Projects at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and is responsible for managing any surplus items and coordinating with other surplus managers

7.University of Vermont Surplus Property Program

Corey Berman is the Recycling Program Manager at the University of Vermont and responsible for recycling waste management. He also deals with surplus property and internal moving services. He said: “If it’s going to leave the university and be discarded, we either try to recycle it or compost it or reuse or sell it, or do something before we send it to the landfill.”

8. Vanderbilt University Surplus Property Program

Matthew Buckley is the University’s Surplus Property Manager as of May 2016, and he also administers campus waste and recycling. He is responsible for the university’s traditional recycling of paper, plastic, aluminum and any other items, and also manages their waste services from the dumpster level to dealing with the vendor as the single point of contact for the university.


Some of the insights we learned include:

  1. Organisations that don’t currently administer a focused system for the sales of assets, should explore this issue with greater zeal.
  2. Organisations should think more creatively when searching for a local storage area for their surplus assets.
  3. Warehousing and sales can be revenue-generating.  
  4. Organisations should strongly recognise the considerable benefits of using students, interns or apprenticeships to co-manage their surplus operation.
  5. Organisations who do not prioritise internal reuse are losing value if they sell their assets.


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Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor

I use my time and experience to contribute to the transition to a regenerative sustainable society for all.

Topics: Report Case study

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