Jeff Barnett / Lantern photographer
The Ohio State campus is home to more than 300 buildings and thousands of pieces of equipment and furniture that eventually need replacing.
When those desks, computers, couches and assorted other items need to go, the OSU Office of Surplus Materials Disposal manager Michele Tiburzi is responsible for transferring them to other departments or selling the property.
“Whenever departments want to get rid of some of their stuff, whether it’s old or outdated, or they’re just getting new and want to replace stuff, they fill out a form online and they can deliver it here,” Tiburzi said. “Then we go through everything we get and the stuff that works and we think we can transfer or sell. … Everything else we try to recycle as much as we possibly can.”
OSU Surplus receives equipment from all OSU buildings, but Tiburzi said the most prominent items are office supplies and computer equipment.
Following its arrival at OSU Surplus, the property is tested to determine whether it should be put on the floor for sale or recycled.
“You learn in this business pretty much what sells and what doesn’t, and it’s basically based on condition,” Tiburzi said. “If it’s in reasonable condition, people love to buy that stuff.”
Tiburzi said the low prices on items attract many customers.
“We do a lot of work with churches, schools, about three or four of the charter schools, and a lot of first-time business owners,” she said. “New furniture is very expensive, so they can get a whole office full of furniture here for about a tenth of what they would pay new.”
Professors tend to peruse the surplus items more than students, Tiburzi said.
Barry Ward, an agricultural economics professor at OSU, stopped at OSU Surplus Tuesday for the first time.
“I came here looking for a file cabinet for personal uses,” Ward said. “I heard about the sale through the agricultural school and I decided just to come look around.”
Although most of the property OSU Surplus receives is office supplies, furniture and computer equipment, Tiburzi said it has had other, more exciting items.
She said it has received electronic keyboards, exercise equipment from recreational sports and a commercial-grade generator worth about $7,000 that was transferred to OSU Facilities Operations and Development. Tiburzi said it has a Brunswick pool table selling for $250.
Every chair sells for $10 and most desks and shelves go for about $15-20. In comparison, the cheapest desk chairs on Best Buy’s website are $30, desks are $60 and shelves are $90.
Tiburzi said her office is attempting to reach out to OSU students, but not many have gotten the message yet.
“After hearing about it, yeah, I would definitely use it,” said Jim Ricciardo, a first-year in psychology.
Beau Cross, a first-year in sport and leisure studies, said it would be helpful in certain situations.
“It wouldn’t be bad if I lived off-campus,” Cross said. “But I live on campus as a freshman, so I can’t really use it.”
OSU Surplus holds general public sales every Tuesday, but its main goal is to transfer equipment to other departments.
Tiburzi said OSU Surplus only accepts checks and money orders for payment because of the office’s lack of security.
“I always say, I’m not getting shot for junk, it’s not happening,” Tiburzi said.