Giving surplus furniture a new life at another state university


George Mason University recently partnered with Virginia State University (VSU) to transfer surplus furniture from Mason residence halls. Through the efforts of staff from Mason Facilities and Housing and Residence Life, more than 850 pieces of furniture were transferred to furnish newly opened residential spaces at VSU, an HBCU located near Petersburg, Virginia.

Couches are loaded on furniture dollies outside a residence hall on the Fairfax Campus, with a moving truck parked nearby
Photo provided by Facilities Communication

The surplus furniture included couches, dining chairs, coffee/end tables, and more. State surplus property policies allow for re-use amongst state agencies in an effort to reduce costs.

“Any surplus property needs to be managed appropriately. This transfer is classified as ‘re-use,’ and I am always looking to divert anything from a landfill,” said Steven Pulis, purchasing manager with Mason Facilities. “Finding a way to transfer the property from one [state] agency to another is a viable solution and a ‘win-win’ for both universities.” 

Following the university’s core value of careful stewardship, Mason staff arranged for the responsible re-use of the surplus property. Kevin Brim, recycle/waste supervisor with Facilities, took the initiative to contact other state universities, asking if the furniture could be used elsewhere. VSU responded with gratitude, and the transfer was initiated.

“Being able to repurpose materials versus [sending them to the] landfill or incinerator is always best practice toward our Zero Waste Goals,” said Brim. “Supporting an HBCU was just the icing on the cake, with the cherry on top.”

The furniture transferred to VSU included lounge furniture from Eastern Shore, Dominion, and Commonwealth halls, as well as the dining chairs from Liberty Square. 

“We typically replace a portion of the thousands of desks, chairs, beds, wardrobes, and other furniture in the dorms every year due to end of life or wear and tear,” said John Rogers, associate director of housekeeping with Housing and Residence Life.

The staff involved expect to find more opportunities to maximize the use of surplus furniture in the future. “I am so happy the furniture could be given a second life at Virginia State,” said Shannon Jordon, Chief Housing Officer and associate dean of Mason Housing and Residence Life.