Inaugural ‘Free Cycle’ Helps Meet MTSU Students’ Living, School Needs

MTSU student Zofia Zagalsky had an eye on one specific item: “I really was wanting the lamp I got to help mitigate some of my electric power usage,” she said following the first-ever Free Cycle event recently on campus.

And, she added, “school supplies like notebooks, organizers and a calculator clipboard are just great things that I’m always looking out for.”

Formerly enlisted in the Air Force, Zagalsky, a rising junior psychology major and transfer student from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, found the needed items and more at the distribution Saturday, Aug. 6, in the Student Services and Admissions Center.

For one month, the MTSU community has been in a collection frenzy to bring in new, used and gently used items university students need and can use.

A yard-sale format featuring free “recycled” donations from the campus community, a highly successful Free Cycle distribution occurred following MTSU’s summer commencement and drew 200 students, said Laurie Witherow, associate vice provost for Admissions and Enrollment Services. Witherow added Free Cycle is being considered for an annual event.

“We amassed a mountain of household goods. Everything was free to students,” Witherow said. “They took whatever they could use. We had grateful visitors from every walk of student life come to take advantage of the event. We were amazed and humbled by the outpouring of both volunteers and items collected.”

Witherow added that the students, parents, faculty, staff and friends of MTSU who donated “are too many to name, but their generosity was noticed and appreciated.”

Anything left went to Outreach Thrift Store to support their work with the homeless in Murfreesboro, Witherow added.

To the colleagues and departments supporting Free Cycle, Witherow recommends everyone to “start saving your stuff. If I learned anything Saturday, it’s that the need is great and no donation is insignificant.”

Zagalsky, who is pursuing minors in family studies and mental health services, also found great books — “especially the cookbooks because they have healthy and conventional recipes to make,” she added.

“I’ve been raving about it to all my friends the last couple days” Zagalsky added.

“I had a wonderful time attending the Free Cycle at MTSU. There was so much great stuff. I got things that would both decorate my space and help me get through the semester.”

About 20 volunteers from nearly a dozen campus departments participated in the collection and distribution.

About 50 students also befitted from visiting the MTSU Student Pantry “thanks to our amazing MTSU One Stop staff who worked in the office Saturday reviewing financial aid and residence appeals and answering emails when they weren’t assisting Pantry visitors,” Witherow said.

Departments included Admissions and Enrollment Services, Child Development and Family Services, Student Success, Sociology, Art and Design, Disability and Access Center, MT One Stop, Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, James E. Walker Library, Facilities Services and the University College.

Tables full of new, used and gently used household items lined the hallway at the MTSU Student Services and Admissions Center for the recent Free Cycle event to donate free items to 200 MTSU students. About 50 students later received food from the MTSU Pantry. (MTSU photo by Bonnie McCarty)
Some new, used and gently used household items and more lined the hallway in the MTSU Student Services and Admissions Center for the recent Free Cycle, an event to provide free items for MTSU students. A number of campus departments and volunteers participated. (MTSU photo by Bonnie McCarty)

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