Inside the cavernous space of The Warehouse at 1525 S. Rogers St., there sits the torso of a mannequin with a removable costume panda's head on top of it.
At this moment, the mannequin is also wearing a red and white checkerboard bikini top.
Along with about 80 tons of other items found in IU's residence halls at the end of the spring semester, this Frankenstein-esque creation is looking for a new home.
The same can be said for Walter, the 7-foot teddy bear, as well as more practical items like clothing, microwaves, office supplies and nearly everything in between.
On Aug. 18, the Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale at The Warehouse will provide the public with the opportunity to own any of these items.
Now in its ninth edition, the H2H sale is a one-day, cash-only event designed to help IU students furnish their dorm rooms, apartments and houses for cheap, while also giving back to the Bloomington community and eliminating unnecessary landfill waste.
Marjorie Hershey, a political science professor at IU and a member of the steering committee for H2H, said students can furnish a dorm room for only $23 using items bought at the sale.
"We have quite literally everything except mattresses," Hershey said. "It’s just a fascinating sight, even if you don’t want to buy anything. It’s just amazing to look around and see stuff that comes from all over the world."
Hershey has been involved with the sale since the first one took place in 2010.
She said about eight years ago, a graduate student in IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs approached the IU Office of Sustainability with the basic idea for the sale. According to Hershey, the student had been part of a similar organization while at Penn State that picked things up left behind in the dorms and sold the items back to the university community.
Steve Akers, IU's associate director of environmental operations for Residential Programs and Services, along with Jacqui Bauer, then the City of Bloomington's Sustainability Coordinator, decided to apply that concept on the IU campus.
Hershey said the first sale featured about 40 tons of items taken from the residence halls, but pouring rain on sale day at Memorial Stadium, where the sale initially took place, limited turnout by the public.
Now located at The Warehouse, Hershey said the sale takes up about one-third of the facility.
The variety of items offered at the sale, which are retrieved from the residence halls by a group of volunteers, is as diverse as the IU student population.
Books, dorm-sized refrigerators, fans, lamps, linens and more can be purchased at cheap prices during the sale, which takes place 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 18.
"This is not junk, the junk got disposed of," Hershey said. "This is good stuff. Many of these things look new, in fact we regularly get pieces of clothing that still have their store tags on them or are still in their plastic wrappers."
A major calling card for the sale is the low prices at which it sells items.
Hershey said all clothing tops are $2 and bottoms are $3, winter coats and jackets are sold for $5, while shoes go for just $2.
The sale frequently offers designer-brand clothing such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, as well.
Last year, Hershey said Nike Air Jordan shoes that were valued at $1,100 online were sold for $2.
"We have no desire to compete with the big-box stores," Hershey said. "But there are a lot of people who don't want to have to pay hundreds of dollars to outfit their room."
Aside from offering students an affordable way to outfit their living space, the sale also has deep ties to the Bloomington nonprofit community.
Prior to the sale, Hershey said carloads of materials such as bed linens, shampoo and tolietries are donated to local nonprofits like Amethyst House, Middle Way House and the Shalom Center, among others.
Unopened food found in residence halls is given to Hoosier Hills Food Bank, and, Hershey said, at the end of the sale, a group of local nonprofits come in and get anything they want that hasn't been sold, before the remaining items are given to Goodwill a few days later.
Additionally, proceeds from the sale are distributed between the IU Office of Sustainability and several nonprofit organizations. Any nonprofit that sends a volunteer to help H2H will get paid $10 per hour the volunteer helps.
This way, Hershey said, both the money and the items sold remain in the community. In total, she said probably between 15 to 20 local groups and members of the community are partnered with H2H.
"It’s a phenomenal activity," Hershey said. "It does so much good for so many people, and those of us who have been involved in it from the beginning have found it to be so satisfying."
By reintroducing items from the sale to the community, Hershey said it diverts tons of waste from a landfill in Terre Haute, Indiana, which eliminates the need for eco-unfriendly trucks to have to carry the items to the landfill, as well.
Despite the benefits of the sale, Hershey said H2H is hoping to do a better job in the spring of educating students, particularly international students and those from outside Indiana, about storage facility options to keep their items so they can reuse them in the fall.
"We would love to encourage people to keep things they may need or not to buy things they are going to discard," Hershey said. "If our volume is growing, that would not be a good thing."
Ideally, Hershey said H2H is hoping for IU Surplus to take over the sale so it can be year-round, since H2H doesn't have the staff to operate the sale for more than one day.
The first eight editions of the sale have diverted more than 350 tons of items from the landfill and raised more than $259,000, but, beyond the numbers, Hershey said she values the connection the sale makes between the University and Bloomington communities.
"I think this is one of the jewels of the Bloomington community," Hershey said. "I think it's a really good symbol of the way the University community and the Bloomington community have common interests and can be of genuine help to one another, and, in the process, can learn more about one another and one another’s needs and become more understanding of one another."
The Hoosier to Hoosier Sale is cash-only and will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at The Warehouse at 1525 S. Rogers St.
Those looking to volunteer at the sale can sign up here.
Parking will be available for free in the lot north of The Warehouse or in an overflow lot across the street. Signs will be located indicating where parking is available and volunteers will be directing traffic. The lot immediately in front of The Warehouse is reserved for handicapped parking and merchandise pickup only.
There will be a free shuttle running from the IU campus to the H2H sale on Aug. 18. The shuttle will pick up and drop off passengers at McNutt, Eigenmann and Forest Residence Halls. Times for the shuttle can be found here.
There is an admission fee for the first 1.5 hours of the sale, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The fee is $10 for the public and $5 for students, although Hershey said there is a limit to how much a family could pay to enter the sale.
More information about the sale can be found here.
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