“Free to give, Free to Take”: Cornell Thrift Opens Ezra’s Exchange

Ezra’s Exchange is a resource that provides students the option to give instead of dump unwanted items, and on the flipside, to take instead of purchase desired goods...


By Daniel Cheong '17, Economics, Computer Science, & Philosophy, Founder & Director, Cornell Thrift

Cornell Thrift opened the first Ezra’s Exchange at the Willard Straight Browsing Library on Nov 21st, envisioning it to be a venue for exchange of second-hand items on a “free to give, free to take” basis.

Ezra’s Exchange was motivated by a simple question: how do we reduce landfill waste and improve welfare on campus? With so much being thrown out year-round, there was a need to divert these items into homes, and not bins, on an ongoing basis. Ezra’s Exchange was set up for exactly this purpose: to provide students a convenient option to give instead of dump. At the same time, it will also provide these same students the opportunity to take desired items at no cost, instead of having to purchase them new. By addressing both the production (of waste) and consumption (of goods), we hope that our campus moves towards reducing landfill volumes with a clear upshot for community members.

The permanent installation also serves as an interactive artifact that will provoke conversation among students on the value of material goods, and how the act of discarding impacts our community and environment. Ezra’s Exchange both (i) creates a tangible option for waste diversion, and (ii) challenges attitudes towards our treatment of material goods. So we invite you to come exchange today – be it your second-hand items, or your thoughts on how we can work towards a less wasteful campus.

For more details about Cornell Thrift or Ezra’s Exchange, feel free to visit our Facebook page here.

Views expressed in News posts may not be those of Cornell University. No endorsement is implied.