Posted on November 1, 2012 by Tia Lalani

The student-built “free-cycling extravanganza” has brought community members from campus and the surrounding area into re-using excess stuff and discussion with each other.

By Christopher Thrall

One’s trash is another’s treasure. The old saying is proven yet again as Score! returned to Augustana for a third year on November 1. The student-built “free-cycling extravanganza” has brought community members from campus and the surrounding area into re-using excess stuff and discussion with each other. One good thing about holding it a third time, according to co-founder Carmelle Mohr, is that they have to explain the idea a lot less.

“People actually know what we’re talking about,” the 4 ½-year Global and Development Studies major declares happily. “You can see your children growing up.”

The core of Score! remains the same: donated items were collected and then displayed in a free store in the Augustana Forum. On Wednesday, October 31, volunteers collected donations from campus and the rest of the community. On Thursday afternoon, the Score! store opened for business to what seemed like the entire population of Augustana campus.

The silent auction of the best items was thronged with browsers while students compared shirts, endtables or toys they found in the free store. Several sessions taught visitors how to up-cycle their found items, work driftwood or tune up their bicycles. Local producers offered vegetables, eggs and bread for sale. Donations were collected to support the work of Sahakarini, and FaithLife Financial matched everything donated, up to $500.

“In our first year, we had no idea what was going on,” says Carmelle. “The next year, people started talking about it and asking about it.” In its second year, Score! added a fashion show of found items, included a local DJ playing music and won the new Dean’s support. This year, the organizers opened new opportunities to learn about the philosophy behind Score! – and a new partner with a compatible philosophy.

Sahakarini was founded in Camrose in 1979 to form partnerships for community-level development initiatives around the world. This year, Sahakarini partnered with Score! to help raise funds (and friends) for current projects in Kenya, India, Guatemala and Uganda. “Score! fits our approach so well,” explains Tif McNaughton, director of Sahakarini and an Augustana alumna, who has been part of Score! since the beginning. “It’s full community participation in a spirit of reciprocity. Score! does it locally, while we try to throw it around the world.”

“It’s about give and take,” agrees Carmelle, “as you can. The ripple effect goes so much deeper. Be willing to share – and even sacrifice something – for your neighbour.” The event also tries to address a deeper issue.

“We hope to help eradicate the shame of living in poverty,” says Carmelle. “As a student, it’s difficult to be OK with living in poverty. More students are using the Reciprocity Shelf or soup supper. Even in a loving community like Camrose, there is a shame to living below that line. There are opposite ends of the spectrum, but we are trying to bring things back to a common ground. Living in that shame is permanently damaging.” Score! shows pride in the Camrose community, from people who donate and the farmers who offer their wares to the students and residents who shop at Score! – plus the charitable associations and the dignity of the people they support.

But it comes back to caring. “Sometimes I wonder – as students – how caring are we, really?” asks Carmelle. “We get absorbed in our textbooks and exams, rather than investing in what we’re learning and giving back to the community that gives us so much. I like that Score involves students – and community members – from all walks of life.”

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