New RecRe Machines on Campus Introduce New Level of Convenience for Students
By: MADISON MCCARHY / SPORTS CO-EDITOR
For the 2022 fall semester, LIU has introduced RecRe rental boxes on campus. According to the company’s website, RecRe lockers are: “autonomous rental lockers that enable college students to rent whatever, whenever.”
The start-up company, which currently also serves James Madison University and Auburn University, looks to provide a place for students to rent different recreational gear whenever they want. Using the QR code located on the box, users are brought to a website to create an account and select a rental.
Boxes on the LIU Brooklyn campus can be found outside the 3rd-floor library and inside the eSports arena. The boxes currently have items ranging from board games to vacuum cleaners.
Griffin Harrington, RecRe’s CEO, explained that the idea came during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrington spent his quarantine in Brooklyn and had some free time to brainstorm a way for communities to share everyday items that aren't necessarily things we all need all the time.
“Living in Brooklyn and having it be such a strange time; right away one of the only things I felt safe doing in the city … was I fell in love with Citi Bike. Through riding Citi Bike I explored New York City parks and had this realization,” he said.
“I got to this park, why aren’t there tennis rackets or basketballs or soccer balls for me to rent just like there is Citi Bikes on every corner.”
He also explained how the communities that have these parks could benefit from having access to recreational items conveniently and sustainably.
“A basketball court is concrete without the ball, a soccer field is just grass without the ball, we need the tool in the public space to activate the space,” Harrington noted.
This idea of recreational tools in community spaces led to the RecRe lockers found in the LIU Brooklyn campus hallways today.
“I was told I would need five years and $20 million to put electric lockers in public parks and I didn’t have either of those, so I pivoted. I found a co-founder and we decided to do what we knew. We both went to James Madison down in Virginia … and we put the first locker filled with sporting gear in an off-campus parking complex,” he said.
He explained that not all college students have the means to buy all of these things, making campus a perfect place for RecRe lockers. Because of that, the company is now a sharing-platform for students to get what they need at an affordable price. Recently, RecRe also sent out a survey to students, asking the users themselves what items they want to see in the lockers.
However, the company has not abandoned the idea of larger scale, sustainable solutions that can be used in multiple different locations. The company also aligns its values with the ongoing call for sustainable business practices.
“I can’t help but look at a university dorm these days and think about the 150 unused vacuum cleaners sitting under students' beds. Taking up space only being used 3-4 times a year,” Harrington said. “There is a really big movement that I see, in trying to encourage students to share items that they really don't need to own.”