Student Entrepreneurs Solving the Seniors’ Problem

It is the time of the year that seniors are preparing for their graduation after nearly four years in the College. Every year, seniors face an inherent problem — disposing of their bulky and durable appliances. For their time in College they have purchased fridges, televisions and perhaps bicycles and game consoles; there have been sporadic jumbo sales on campus yet there has not been a systematic and centralized way for them to come together to sell off their appliances before they leave campus.

Often during commencement, seniors have no choice but to throw away good quality appliances. This is indeed environmentally unfriendly and economically wasteful of resources. At the same time, incoming first-years can only rely on online portals like Amazon or Craigslist for purchase of second-hand appliances like fridges, televisions, etc. They lack an approachable, accessible and affordable option. There exists an immediate need for a social entrepreneurial start-up to purchase quality second-hand durables from graduating seniors while providing an alternative channel for incoming first-years to buy such appliances.

A group of students from multicultural backgrounds and each graduating class recognized this problem and came together to offer a solution. They, consisting of international students, athletes and AAS senators, formed a social enterprise — The Green Garage Co. This is a student-run entrepreneurship initiative where they focus on generating both business success and entrepreneurship initiative at the College. The business concept is simple: they buy used furniture and electronic appliances from graduating seniors, store them during the summer and sell them to new and returning students in the fall.

The group of students is currently working with the Social Innovation Leadership Team (SILT) to organize a Senior Sale. They are organizing the fair to help the seniors and possibly other students on campus sell their durables, and allow fellow Amherst students to buy the items from the sellers directly. This has been planned to happen this weekend (May 4) at 2 p.m. on the King/Wieland and the Triangle lawns. Currently the team is navigating through the administration to make sure that this event complies with the various regulations stipulated by the college.

With generous support in form of loans from alumni, The Green Garage Co. also intends to purchase unsold items from the seniors and provide the incoming freshmen a cheaper and more personable option to buy them in the fall. At the same time, anyone on campus is welcome to purchase the items from the group.

Indeed, this is an innovative and appealing business model to solve the seniors’ problem of item disposal while promoting environmental consciousness on campus.

*This student enterprise is not, in any way, related to the recent ‘Amherst Hookups’ advertisement.