Swap Shop


The suitcases of the average foreign student, or care packages sent from home, usually only contains clothes, a laptop, a few nice photos from home and some cookies to survive the first day. Cutlery, pans, cleaning products and household appliances are rarely included: they are usually bought in the host city. Six months later, that barely used household furniture is not returned to the home country, but in the best-case scenario ends up in the waste container. To break that cycle, some observant students have created the Swap Shop .

Second life

With the 'SwapShop', Ghent University ensures that materials such as cooking pots, cutlery, cleaning products and household appliances that are left behind are given a second (and third and fourth) life with incoming students. In this way, the investment costs for the new students are also reduced.

The SwapShop initiative was established with the help of The Green Office of Ghent University as part of the "making tomorrow" project and is being further expanded by students from the home councils.

Collection of materials

The Housing Office offers three collection rooms, available for residents of the residences from Kantienberg (Groningen, Göttingen, Uppsala & Canterbury) according to an open-door policy. The three rooms are located on the bridge on the first floor that connects all the residences from Kantienberg. Because of the open-door policy, the available items depend on what is left behind or what has not yet been picked up.
The Swap Shops are open for international residents from other residences during Swap Events.


The concept is simple: students can leave whatever necessities they don't take home with them in a collection room. Those items are sorted and stacked in the Swap Shop.

Clothing and duvets, which are bought extra by the students in the cold winter months on top of the standard blanket, are kept separate for hygienic reasons. The Green Office is working on a good solution for this within the urban context that is also financially profitable: clothing is brought to thrift shops and only for blankets, a limited laundry cost of 5 euros will be charged.

Swap Event

Twice a year a Swap event is organized at which the new students can choose free material. This is very successful. Moreover, the exchange students take the concept with them to their home university, which means that Swapshop also has an awareness-raising value. The management of the swap shop was transferred to the student councils of the homes.

Please find more information on Swap Events on Facebook!

Related information and useful links

Sustainability initiatives at Ghent University

SwapShop in (social) media

"From cleaning products to coffee machines", hln.be

Sustainability award "De Groene Ruijter"