Got stuff? University surplus policy can help units handle unwanted items

"Big or small, we take it all."

That's the motto for Indiana University Surplus manager Todd Reid, who has sold an eclectic mix of items that include old laptops and a grand piano with water damage, as well as hundreds of cement blocks that were part of the protective barrier built to surround the university's former proton therapy beam.

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Macintosh computers for sale at IU Surplus. Photo courtesy of IU Surplus

And he's here to help your unit get rid of unneeded stuff.

How does the process work? First, familiarize yourself with the university's two policies that relate to unwanted items: Disposal and Redistribution of University Property and Sale of Computing Equipment.

Those policies essentially spell out three options for handling the university's unwanted or surplus items:

  • Work with IU Surplus to send items directly to the university's surplus store, 2931 E. 10th St. in Bloomington. This option typically works best for common items like computers or office furniture. 
  • Work with the Office of Procurement Services to list items on an intra-university listserv, where they can be sold or given to another unit.
  • Work with the Office of Procurement Services to sell specific or unique items that other higher education institutions might need. This option typically works best for larger or more unusual items like supercomputers or high-end microscopes.

IU Surplus even accepts small items, such as paper clips, power cords or old cell phones. Those items can be sent to IU Surplus via campus mail or by calling 812-855-2475 for free pick-up.

Reid said any unit that sees something they could use on the IU Surplus Facebook page or under the university's auctions on GovDeals.com should contact him. Current listings on the Facebook page include a bank of four bright red metal lockers and a bookshelf full of plastic binders, while the auction site listings include an industrial robot and a lot of 21 toilets.

IU Surplus returned more than $300,000 back to the university in fiscal year 2016, according to assistant director Craig Porritt.

"At a time when finances are getting tighter, we're here to help departments recoup their funds," he said. "It's also a more sustainable option that helps reuse and repurpose items that others can use."

Units may not donate items to an outside organization directly, because items purchased by the university must comply with policy for disposition of those items, according to associate vice president of procurement services Jill Schunk.

"Any request for donations must be approved by the Office of Procurement Services prior to donation," Schunk said. "We look at various nuances including funding source requirements -- such as research grants; depreciation of the asset; needs within the university community; community engagement; and current market value of the items prior to making any decision on donations."

For additional information or questions, contact Schunk at 812-855-5646 or jschunk@iu.edu or Reid at 812-855-2475 or surplus@indiana.edu.