From The Grassroots: The UBC Free Store

With the exodus out of the old SUB, a few clubs remain creating a unique subculture in the basement of the old SUB (which is connected to the New SUB). One of these is of course the student run cafe Sprouts, and another is UBC’s very own Free Store.

Run as an initiative of the Student Environment Centre (SEC), the Free Store aims to reduce the need to buy stuff by offering up goods (and eventually services) for free. People donate their old items and people take them. Basically it is a free thrift store right here at UBC. The Free Store is founded upon the ideal of cooperation rather than competition. We don’t think the basic things of life such as clothes, books, etc. should be sold for a profit, but available to everyone. Instead of being complicit in the face of an excessively waste producing consumerist society, we provide a space for people to get rid of items they no longer need, to then be taken by those who do need them. As the saying goes, “one person’s trash is another person’s not-trash.”

The Free Store was founded in 2013 by students who were tired of seeing perfectly useful items being thrown away, especially in residence. They banded together and formed this organization that has since been added to SEC’s portfolio with a dedicated exec. What can you find in the thrift store? Literally anything from ripped patches of fabric to a fencing sword. The Free Store aims to improve students’ financial situations by providing an affordable way to meet important needs for things such as clothing and school supplies. We aim to provide an alternative economic model for the UBC community based on the principles of sustainability and equality.

The Free Store is located in the basement of the Old SUB next to Sprouts and the Aqua Society. The store will be be open 24/7 in the next couple weeks while we set up for the semester. Drop off anything in the bin and take anything you want. Our lovely free store volunteers can answer any questions you may have. If you want to get involved contact us at Live life freely!


George, a Free Store rescue, with SEC Co-Chair Niklas, Outreach Co-ordinator Marina, and Active member Marcos!

Written by: Niklas Agarwal | Events & Outreach Co-coordinator of Common Energy UBC