Using Surplus Property to Save Departments Resources and the Environment
Dale McCauley is the Assistant Director of the College of Business’s InnovationX Academy and Makerspace Manager at Oregon State University. Dale has been visiting OSU’s Surplus Property and its public-facing store, OSUsed, since 2006 when he completed his undergrad. Now, since starting his career with the College of Business 10 years ago, he has used Surplus Property to save his department, what he estimates, is over $100,000. He has sourced countless furniture pieces and tech from Surplus Property’s Department Purchasing Program for staff offices, the DAMLab Makerspace, and the new Create & Design Lab for a fraction of the price and fraction of the time buying new would.
The DAMLab Makerspace, located on the first floor of Buxton Residence Hall, was created in 2016 and is a collaborative space for College of Business and College of Engineering students. The DAMLab hosts equipment like embroidery machines, sublimation and direct-to-garment printers, 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC mills, and more. When planning out the space, Dale quickly realized that much of his budget was about to be eaten up by new computers needed to run the equipment, tables, chairs, etc… Because he was able to source furniture and tech from Surplus rather than through expensive furniture vendors, he was able to spend more of his budget on what students care about. To this day, the lab offers a place for students to not only build prototypes and projects, but a community as well; many of which, Dale says, also visit OSUsed as he did over 15 years ago.
More recently, Dale has been building a new lab in Milam Hall called the Design & Create Lab for Design majors and InnovationX Academy members. His creativity has helped him use Surplus items to create unique, yet highly functional pieces like the custom table that used a Surplus powerlift table along with some custom butcher block pieces to create an adjustable-height, tough table for his students. He estimates that the table costs around $600 rather than the $5,000 it would’ve cost new.
His InnovationX students have also joined in the creative upcycling of Surplus items. Dale taught a course in the College of Business’s Launch Pad series where he asked student teams to upcycle 10 lbs of retired athletic jerseys. Their creations included pillowcases, tote bags, backpacks, wall hangings, quilts, sound-dampening wall tiles, and more. Dale notes that he is very proud of this project and still keeps some of these projects in his Surplus furnished office in Weatherford Hall.
Dale’s long history of visiting OSU Surplus is one of the many stories of community members on and off of campus saving money, time, and the environment by choosing to reuse before buying new. We at Surplus Property can’t thank him enough for his commitment to our operation and for showing his colleagues and students the value of reuse.