Furniture Reclamation on the River Campus

As the University of Rochester strives to promote sustainability—reducing, reusing, and recycling whenever possible is a priority. Paul Spaulding, the senior operations officer for the Colleges of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering has gone above and beyond to make sustainability paramount on the River Campus. In Spaulding’s role, he assigns and manages space for the arts, sciences, and engineering departments and programs and serves as the liaison for these departments during renovation and construction projects.

Since 2011, Paul Spaulding has also managed a furniture exchange program for the River Campus. This allows for a free exchange of furniture among University departments. When a department has unwanted furniture that they cannot find a use for, they can send an e-mail to the River Campus Administrator’s Group (RCAG) ListServ with a picture of the item and its dimensions, rather than throwing it away. Interested departments can respond to the e-mail and make arrangements to pick up the furniture.

Many of the items collected and redistributed are pieces of office furniture, including but not limited to file cabinets, office chairs, desks, bookcases, shelves, and tables. From 2011 to 2015, 87 tons of furniture has been diverted from landfills and instead, exchanged through this program!

When asked why he decided to start this program, Spaulding said, “It’s the right thing to do. It saves us money, it saves us time, and it prevents items from going to the trash that still have a use.”

The furniture exchange program promotes the “Three R’s”: reducing, reusing, and recycling. When departments give away unwanted furniture, the amount of furniture the University needs to buy is reduced. It also reduces the amount of material going into landfills. When pieces, like old filing cabinets, remain unwanted after being posted on the ListServ, they are recycled. Items are only thrown away when they are damaged and cannot be reused or recycled.

If you are a part of a River Campus department and have furniture you would like to give away, pictures of the item and the dimensions should be e-mailed to the RCAG ListServ by contacting Lena Cardone (

If you are a part of the Medical Center, please contact Les Pfluke ( for details regarding the Medical Center Facilities Surplus Property Program.


Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017






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