Kent University’s Freecycle initiative became the target of burglars before and during Fresher’s weekend, as campus security were called multiple times to prevent too many items being taken.
The Freecycle, lead by President of the Kent Graduate Student Association (KGSA); Rowena Bicknell, aims to donate essential items from graduated students to new fresher students, in an opportunity that Bicknell describes as a “free shop”.
Located in Woolf, items on display were varied and numerous, including bedding, cutlery, pots and pans, hangers and even small amounts of food. On the first day of fresher’s it was estimated that between 400-500 people turned up to the event.
However, whilst all items were free, students were advised to take around five items, to give others a chance with getting items.
“We had groups turn up in a white van and then try and put things in and we had to chase after them. In a car, students come out, chasing after them and stopping them and getting the items back.”
“I’m just hoping it’s all a misunderstanding, I’m sure it’s nothing malicious. But it’s difficult to say.”
Campus security were called multiple times to the scene, with Rowena also having to reaffirm that “we’re just telling students that if they do see anything to report it to campus security.”
“They (campus security) were really wonderful and they really helped us out, and they came, because we did have another few more scares.”
At least ten volunteers gave up their time to help out organizing the event and categorizing donated items, with all seeming eager to help make life easier for newly arrived students, even going so far as bringing ‘Bilbo’ the dog as a mascot.
Anything left at the end of event will be “redistributed to the local community” after the end of freshers week, with several partners expected to benefit from the event.
Campus security have been reached for comment.
Also thank you to the volunteers who organised the event: Rowena Bicknell, Tom Ritchie, Silja Wiedeking, Yan Kun Lee, Ben Davis, Linh Bao Nguyen, Thomas Rowe, Jenny Tsim, Andy Thrapp, Shelly Lorts and Bilbo the dog.