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Navigating overconsumption on UMD’s campus: What do you really need for college? 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

As companies and influencers gear up for advertising back-to-school shopping this summer, it’s important to be mindful of purchases to both save money and help the environment. 

Lists of what you need for freshman year, essential dorm items and summer staples are already making their way onto Amazon Storefronts and Like To Know It, and although they can be helpful, they can also drive overconsumption. 

At the University of Maryland campus, the Terp to Terp campus reuse store has diverted over 27,000 pounds of items from being put into the landfill since May 2021. The items are then put into the store and given away for free for students who book an appointment to shop at the store located at Harford Hall. 

“In college, one of the most common forms of overconsumption is buying really cheap and poor quality clothing for things like themed parties and holidays,” said Emma Brashear, the residential engagement intern at the Office of Sustainability. “In the age of TikTok, it is becoming more and more common to buy a single-use item . ”

Brashear, a senior geographical sciences major, recommended borrowing from a friend, secondhand shopping or shopping from one’s own closet to try and fit the themes.

“Only really buy new when you know it’s a case where you’re gonna keep it in your closet for a really long time,” she said. 

Keeping up with trends on TikTok can be difficult, and trying to guess what will stick around for a while can be even harder. Instead of trying to stay as up-to-date as possible, try only buying what you like and see yourself wearing for a long time

As for dorm supplies, Brashear explained that Terp To Terp is reframing some of the essentials as temporary use items, as residents won’t need them after their time in the dorms is up. 

Shower caddies and bed risers are two examples. Bed risers can be costly, but luckily for incoming freshmen, or upperclassmen who don’t have them yet, Terp To Terp has an abundance.

“It’s crazy, and we want to get rid of them,” Brashear said. 

When stocking up on dorm items this summer, remember that if you’re not entirely sure if you need an item just yet, it’s best to wait it out and see. Plus, dorm rooms can easily get crowded by too many items given their small size.

As students begin the move-out process and find themselves no longer needing or wanting items, Terp To Terp will have collections for accepted items in every residence hall.
To make an appointment to get items like bed risers for free, students can email terptoterp@umd.edu. All they need to bring is a student ID.

Abigail Roedersheimer is from Laguna Beach, California and is in her freshman year at the University of Maryland College Park. She is majoring in Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and hopes to double major in Public Policy. During her senior year of high school, she was the News Editor for her school paper, The Brush and Palette and also interned for her school district's director of communications, where she assisted in producing content and writing press releases. She also attended the Boston University Summer Journalism Program in 2022. Outside of school, Abigail enjoys horseback riding, baking, and watching movies. She looks forward to her future with HerCampus Maryland.