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On Wednesday, the whole Durham-Durham group had dinner and a candid dialogue with Michael Goodmon, Vice President of Real Estate for Capitol Broadcasting Company. Growing up in Raleigh and being the fourth-generation legacy of the company, Michael has a unique and well-informed perspective to offer on the current challenges that Durham must face as it continues to grow. In the less formal conversation that we shared with him, we were able to hear a status report on Durham that was not sugar-coated in any way. At the same time, however, I believe that all of us DukeEngagers were captivated by what we heard from Goodman. Complex issues—such as improving the public school and public transportation systems—will be the ones that we must tackle soon as our generation enters the workforce. As a Public Policy major myself, I am eager to apply the skills and concepts that I have learned at Duke and work toward tackling these challenges that affect Durham and other communities.

During our introductions at dinner with Michael, I immediately smiled at Michael’s comment upon learning that a couple of us were working at the Scrap Exchange: “I love the Scrap Exchange!” Upon hearing the affectionate remark for the Scrap Exchange, I recalled how at our first panel with several important and passionate Durhamites, several of the panelists simultaneously commented on their fondness of the Scrap Exchange. I even remember telling two employees at the Public Policy department that I would be working at the Scrap Exchange over the summer, and they quickly told me of their love for the organization.

Hearing these responses so often, I take great pride in being able to represent the Scrap Exchange. No matter who it is, every Durhamite I talk to is grateful to have such an organization in their community. Moreover, what is more interesting is to ask what sort of materials or projects they came to the Scrap Exchange for—the variety of purposes the Scrap Exchange has served for different people is incredible! To me, one of the most rewarding parts of working at the Scrap Exchange is witnessing and hearing about how it has helped Durhamites in such different ways. It is as if the Scrap Exchange is becoming a community staple, something for which Durhamites have developed a stable and grateful appreciation. Furthermore, just as Durham is known for its diversity, I could not pinpoint one demographic that loves the Scrap Exchange; its biggest fans come from all around the community. Although most Durhamites I talk to have some level of familiarity with the Scrap Exchange, a much smaller ratio of Duke students to whom I have mentioned it are aware of it, which I hope to change soon.

As we approach the end of our time in Durham, NC, the primary project that my DukeEngage partner, Sarah Sculco, and I have been working on will reach its realization next week. After spending time researching other makerspaces and design centers (and even taking a few field trips to other spaces), crafting our own sample projects, and creating new signage in the Scrap Exchange’s Design Center, we will be present for the first of many craft nights in the Design Center! Using one of our upcycling projects, the Scrap Exchange will offer the ability to use the studio space and materials in order to create your own project. For example, projects include a DIY fabric wreath using scrap fabric, a checkerboard using a picture frame and poster board, and a custom leather bookmark that can be stamped with letters and other designs. It will be exciting to see the culmination of our overarching project, and I hope to see some familiar faces there!


DIY checkerboard that Sarah and I made using a donated picture frame, poster board, and painted bottle caps. After these first bottle caps were painted, I decided the better and easier idea was to dip the bottle caps in a different paint, which are shown in another picture in this post.

Reconsidered Goods in Greensboro, which we visited on Wednesday due to the success of the creative reuse center’s highly successful craft nights. This organization took several notes from the Scrap Exchange when deciding to how set up their store, and the two organizations often share materials. It was fascinating to see a direct source for compare/contrast with the Scrap Exchange, and the store has an incredible atmosphere.
I often research vintage books for their appropriate pricing in the retail section of the Scrap Exchange, which is one of my favorite tasks because you never know what you will find. In this schoolbook from 1919, I found a high school student’s art depicting World War I in the back of the book.