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Bonner Leaders Program Expands Sustainable Programming with “Swap Shop”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bonner Leaders Program Expands Sustainable Programming with “Swap Shop”

The Bonner Leaders Program at Young Harris College has added several new student-led initiatives this year, including a new “Swap Shop” that allows students, faculty and staff to donate and take a variety of items in an effort to reduce waste and educate the campus community about reusing and repurposing things.

The idea for the Swap Shop first came about when Center for Appalachian Studies Director and Coordinator of the Bonner Leadership Program Rob Campbell and Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Schroeder, Ph.D., visited Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C., to learn more about innovative college sustainability initiatives.

“It was exciting to see the extent to which Warren Wilson College continues to weave environmental sustainability into the very fabric of its identity and its mission,” said Campbell. “It was equally exciting to see students take ownership of so many of the initiatives like the Recycling Store on campus. Warren Wilson can serve as an excellent model for YHC as we continue to deepen and broaden the College’s commitment to issues related to environmental stewardship.”

The main goal of the project is to help promote sustainability efforts on campus by preventing reusable waste and encouraging the campus community to reduce consumption of everyday items. To achieve this goal, the “Swap Shop” asks people to donate usable items they no longer need, and in return, they can take things from the shop for free. A wide variety of donations will be accepted, from school supplies to clothes to furniture.

Longtime Bonner Leader and senior biology major Mindy Moore, of Stockbridge, has been working with Campbell to implement this new initiative.

“I am very excited about opening the Swap Shop at the beginning of next semester and to see what impact it has on our campus” said Moore. “It is a great way to promote a sustainable, recycling-friendly lifestyle in our local area.”

“Mindy really laid the groundwork for the Swap Shop to get off the ground,” said Campbell. “This was an idea the Bonner program has had for a while, but it really took off and became a reality when Mindy took over the project.”

Campbell also pointed out that many individuals and offices across campus played key roles in the planning process for the Swap Shop’s launch this spring. Physical Plant Operations Manager and Assistant Professor of English Rusty Royston helped build the furniture and display cases that will be used in the shop, and the Student Government Association (SGA) allocated $250 to assist with building supplies. The funding was provided through SGA’s “Green Fee” in which students pay $5 each year to fund sustainability efforts at the College.

“The Swap Shop is the culmination of hard work and compromise from so many people at the College” said Campbell. “My hope is that the Swap Shop will benefit the entire YHC community that has worked so hard to bring it to life.”

The Swap Shop is tentatively set to open its doors in late January and will be located in rooms 148 and 150 in the Department of Athletics building. To find out more about the shop, contact Rob Campbell at or (706) 379-5139.

New Bonner Leaders (from left to right) Chris Yenney, a freshman outdoor leadership major from  Lilburn, Ga., Lathem Postell, sophomore religious studies major from Cartersville, Ga,.Faith Pugh, a freshman communication studies major from Black Mountain, N.C.,  Seth Hulsey, a junior religious studies major from Cornelia, Ga,, Christa Hamill, a freshman English major from Hiawassee, Ga., Jordan Silvey, a freshman business and public policy major from McDonough, Ga., and, Taylor Brown, a freshman art major from Savannah, Ga., pose for a picture during the annual Bonner Leaders retreat at the Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville, N.C.