Surplus division: big impact, little recognition

Graphic By Corey Beaudrie

After the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007, UAA took safety measures to replace all windowless doors. What many students may not have noticed was the vast amount of planning that went on in the background to make sure that the changeover went smoothly.

Responsible for transitions such as this is the surplus division of UAA. Working in conjunction with all of the departments, surplus will pick up any equipment that is no longer needed, from furniture to computers to printers, and store them in the warehouse next to the University Center.

When a department needs items moved to the warehouse, they make a call- and presto, it’s delivered the next day. Surplus is one of the most smoothly run programs at UAA, working by recycling materials throughout the University.

Bob McDonnell, supervisor of General Support Services, has signed off on both generous and ingenious transactions. With the help of the University Facilities woodshop, the doors without windows were transformed into the countertops of the Seawolf Postal Express in the basement of the bookstore.

“This is one of my favorite stories. We were able to take the doors that had to be replaced and use them in the university again. The old countertops were dingy; they needed to be replaced,” McDonnell said.

In addition, McDonnell has signed off on four separate donation efforts on behalf of surplus. Working with the Department of Corrections, Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, New Life Development Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club, UAA has made their trash into someone else’s treasure.

William Cruz, head of surplus, noted the great heaps of trash donated to dumpsters by UAA students at the end of every spring semester.

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“They just don’t want to bring (the appliances) back home with them. I see eight or nine microwaves piling up in the dumpsters each day at the end of the spring semester,” Cruz said.

Cruz’s advice? Donate unwanted furniture and appliances to surplus. From the surplus warehouse, the desks, beanbag chairs, bookcases, mini-fridges or microwaves can be donated or sold.

Surplus recently donated eight computers to The Department of Corrections Pretrial Facility for their education program. New Life Development Inc., a program aimed at rehabilitating previously incarcerated citizens through education, received four computers for technology training.



Joyce Oswald, education coordinator for Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, calls the trip to the warehouse “the prison shopping trip”. Donating eight computer tables and six chairs, both UAA and Hiland Mountain Correctional Center benefitted from the exchange.  UAA clears unwanted surplus from a crowded warehouse and Hiland doesn’t have to buy new furniture.

Every few months, surplus holds a sale to further clear the warehouse for incoming stock. The first sale of 2011 falls on March 24th and is open to anyone with a valid Wolf Card from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then the general public from 12 to 2 p.m.

The sale includes fully loaded desktop computer setups for $50-$100, computers without an operating system for $25, as well as computers that are given away for free that could possibly fin use as spare parts. They also sell printers, furniture, desks, chairs and even a grinder. One year they sold a pizza oven that had been put into surplus by the food services division of UAA.