The University of Penn is a longstanding Steelcase and Corporate Interiors client. Like nearly all higher education clients, Penn places a lot of emphasis on sustainability. In 2011, when they began on a series of renovations to its Philadelphia campus, they looked to Steelcase and Corporate Interiors for assistance. Corporate Interiors reached out to IRN, the reuse and recycling network, to assist Penn in managing their surplus with a network of relief organizations that will use it for disaster relief and development. IRN arranges reuse of nearly 100% of the surplus they handle, and what they can’t reuse, they recycle. Since 2011, Corporate Interiors and IRN have collaborated with the University of Pennsylvania to provide twelve trailer-loads of medical furnishings and equipment to charity. More than 1,700 items represent 80 tons diverted from U.S. landfills, now making an essential contribution to healthcare in five countries.
The furnishings and equipment have been matched with hospitals and clinics in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, and Jamaica. Penn’s shipments have included 385 lab benches and tables, 20 exam tables, 63 pieces of lab equipment, 405 desks and file cabinets, 245 sets of shelving and storage cabinets, 11 pallets of office supplies, and 498 pieces of seating including task and desk chairs, stacking and folding chairs, and lab stools. Take away the partnership between Corporate Interiors and IRN, and these items would simply be unavailable or beyond the means of the recipient organizations.