Case Study: College of the Holy Cross

By implementing the One Planet Books program, Holy Cross Bookstore was able to recoup revenue from unwanted textbooks and reinvest it back into the campus community, creating positive PR for their store.

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College of the Holy Cross Supports Community with One Planet Books

A better use for unwanted books

For years, Holy Cross Bookstore allowed an organization to collect unwanted textbooks on their campus in an effort to promote recycling. When students started to question exactly where those books went, however, the store realized that it didn't have an answer.

"I knew we needed to find a new solution for these books, but many of the recycling programs that I looked into would have cost us money," explained Dave McKenna, director.

Discovering a more viable solution

"I was very relieved when I learned about One Planet Books. Because the program is run by a reputable company, I knew that I could give students an honest answer about what happened to the books when they were sent off. It gave our recycling effort credibility and it actually earned us money!" What really sold the program for McKenna, however, was the donation box.

"MBS provides you with all of the marketing materials, including this big, beautiful donation box, for free," he said. "It's much easier to draw attention to the fact that we have a recycling option in the store now that we have professional looking materials."

Bringing the benefit full circle

For each full carton sent to MBS, the store receives $10, which is a benefit in itself. Rather than simply call that money revenue, however, McKenna instead devised a way to amplify the advantages by giving back to the very people who contributed.

"We're always being asked to donate to student organizations on campus and, in the past, I had just written a check," he said. "It finally dawned on me that I could use money we received from One Planet Books to fund those donations. I decided to purchase our store gift cards and hand those out instead; it was much easier for us in terms of accounting and really brought the recycling effort full circle by putting the money back in students' hands!"

It reinforces that we're an institutionally owned store and support the same mission as the college. All of that leads to better relationships with the students, faculty, and Holy Cross community as a whole!

— Dave McKenna

Positive feedback and lots of PR

Working with the Student Affairs department, the store has been able to distribute gift cards to a variety of causes and organizations, creating both an enhanced image and extra traffic. The initiative was an instant success, and the word has quickly spread across campus. "Students love it! In fact, I've even had a few come to buyback and ask, ‘Where do I put my books so that the Student Affairs department can get more gift cards?" and the organizations that receive the cards are always very grateful, too. It's been a great PR move," he explained.

A whole new image

With this public recognition, the store has been able to dispel the myth that their only motive is profit.

"Transparency has become such an enormous part of what we do, and this program allows us to show students that we aren't just trying to make a buck," he described. "It reinforces that we're an institutionally owned store and support the same mission as the college. All of that leads to better relationships with the students, faculty and Holy Cross community as a whole!"

About College of the Holy Cross:

  • FTE: 2,900 undergraduate students
  • Shipped 58 cartons to One Planet Books in the last year
  • Earned over $2000 since starting the program
  • Fostered positive relationships with on-campus organizations through gift card donations

About One Planet Books:

  • Earn revenue for each carton of books collected
  • Control the proceeds — you can use them to support your campus or community
  • Help the environment
  • Enhance your eco-friendly image