Jeff Severin
Center for Sustainability

KU Surplus reaches donation milestone

Mon, 02/24/2014

LAWRENCE — KU Surplus reached a milestone Feb. 20 by donating its 20,000th item to area nonprofit organizations since the program was established in 2007. KU Surplus is a program of the Center for Sustainability, which collects and redistributes furniture and office goods that are no longer needed by departments on the University of Kansas Lawrence Campus.

Eric Kirkendall, founder and director of Lawrence Creates, collected the donation, which included modular furniture panels, light fixtures and other supplies. Lawrence Creates and the Lawrence Art Guild have frequently used items from KU Surplus to furnish the Makerspace Center for Innovation and stock with office supplies and art materials.

"If it weren't for this program, we wouldn’t have anything,” said Kirkendall

Josh Quick, KU Surplus Technician, helps Eric Kirkendall of Lawrence Creates load items donated by KU Surplus.Through KU Surplus, items deemed as surplus due to replacement, remodeling or downsizing are diverted from the landfill and made available first for reuse to KU departments. Those items that do not find a home on campus are either sold through public auction sites or donated to area not-for-profit organizations.

“Donations are a result of a campuswide effort to get the maximum value from our furniture,” said Surplus Operations Coordinator Sam Pepple. “Surplus prides ourselves in being able to find homes for items that are no longer needed at KU. It is so much better to get items out into the community rather than gathering dust in a closet, or, worse yet, just ending up in the landfill.”

In the past year, KU Surplus has prevented more than 200,000 pounds of materials from entering the landfill. By selling items to departments at a nominal price, the program has saved KU an estimated $300,000 in avoided cost during that time period.

“I am very proud of the valuable service KU Surplus provides for our campus and our community,” said Jeff Severin, director of the KU Center for Sustainability. “By capturing and redistributing surplus material, we are able reduce or environmental impacts, save money for campus departments and support the local community.”

KU Surplus is funded in part through revenues, with a goal of being completely self-sufficient within the next two years. Recent changes to state statues and Kansas Board of Regents policy has allowed the program to expand and explore additional options for redistribution. Severin hopes the program can eventually expand to recover additional materials, including fixtures and building materials removed during building remodels, and develop additional partnerships to further reduce the environmental and financial effects of campus development.

KU departments wishing to purchase surplus materials can view inventory online. Customers can also view items in person during KU Surplus store hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesdays or by appointment at the Maintenance and Surplus Building, 2303 Bob Billings Parkway. Appointments can be made by calling 785-393-4256. Anyone who would like to receive inventory updates can email “subscribe” to

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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here:
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. #KUworks
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.

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