Lily Mellitz ’26
Tucked away beneath the Jackson basement, just a stone’s throw from the LSC quad, resides The Coop — the campus thrift store that has been a Trinity treasure since its establishment in the fall of 2010. Over the years, it has grown in popularity, serving not only as a place to find affordable goods but also as a beacon of sustainability and community engagement.
The heart of The Coop lies in its extensive collection of donated items, largely contributed by students and facilitated by the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement. At the end of every semester, the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement collaborates with the Office of Sustainability to organize Ditch the Dumpster. This initiative, initially known as Dump and Run and launched in 2005, serves as a foundation for The Coop’s offerings. It collects an array of gently used goods — ranging from household appliances like fridges and kettles to everyday essentials such as notebooks and hangers — preventing them from ending up in landfills and giving them second life within The Coop’s walls
All profits generated by The Coop are channeled back into the community through donations to various non-profits throughout Connecticut, mostly in the Hartford region, contributing to The Coop’s commitment to supporting local initiatives and making a positive impact beyond campus.
With an average of around 10 volunteers per semester, The Coop operates through the dedication of passionate individuals committed to thrifting and sustainability, as well as those simply drawn to the community of the Coop. The enthusiasm of these volunteers is evident, returning semester after semester to contribute their time and energy. They are the backbone of The Coop’s success.
When asked about their interest in The Coop, volunteers shared their perspectives. Kaalil Thurman ‘26, Coop manager, said, “My favorite thing about The Coop is how available, accessible and affordable it is for students.”
Vy Duong ‘26, also a Coop manager, highlighted the meaningful impact of The Coop.
“What I love about working for the Coop is seeing the impact it makes,” Duong commented. “I stayed on campus during the summer and witnessed the amount of goods and dorm supplies that were disposed of, sorted, cleaned and then sold to students. Being able to witness the whole process was eye opening for me. It taught me to be conscious of our consumption level and to be sustainable. I am also proud of the fact that all of our profits go to support different organizations in Hartford.”
Echoing similar sentiments, conversations with patrons reveal a shared appreciation for the resources The Coop provides.
“I really like how chill it is,” said patron and new Coop volunteer Adrien Braun ‘27. “It’s a cool space to shop in, and I like knowing that my purchases are supporting a good cause.”
And there you have it. The Coop at Trinity College is not simply a thrift store — it is a champion of sustainability and community resonating both on campus and throughout Hartford. So whether you’re in need of dorm supplies, clothing or other essentials, make The Coop your next stop.