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"Delete If Not Interested" — the Gifting Power of Potpourri

December 18, 2019
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It needs no introduction (but we’re giving it one anyway). It’s an automated legend, known for flooding email inboxes from Goddard to Gateway and beyond. It’s where you can find an antique record player, a pasta roller, vintage video games, and hot tubs, all in the course of a single afternoon. You know it, you love it, or you just might want to be unsubscribed from it.

It’s Potpourri.

What started as a simple mailing list among WPI employees offering a little bit of everything has grown into a campus-wide phenomenon, a one-stop shop of miscellany and hidden gems. Looking for a pair of tickets to the next Bruins game? Someone in Athletics has got your back. Want to get rid of that pile of reclaimed bricks in your yard? Someone in Academic Advising needs them for a home improvement project.

Thanks to Potpourri, WPI’s season of giving is year-round, and that’s exactly why we thought this would be the perfect time to celebrate some of its greatest hits—and who knows, maybe you’ll stumble upon the perfect last-minute gift for yourself or a loved one (but we call dibs on the teenage chickens).

Odds and ends: There’s nothing quite like logging into your email on a Monday morning and sifting through the latest Potpourri offers. You never know what you’ll find: some days it’s bat boxes, bikes, and weighted blankets; others feature requests for graphing calculators, Commodore or Apple II computers, or mercury (this is WPI, after all).

Puppy love: People find their furry, feathery, and even scaly friends in a variety of places—one of those is right here on Potpourri. From dogs and cats (who may or may not look exactly like Yoda) to chickens and roosters, it’s love at first subject line, and, really, would we want it any other way?

Pack your bags: Another regular subject on Potpourri? Travel advice. Requests for leftover currency and recommendations for don't-miss spots around the country are usually quick transactions. But sometimes, a simple request can lead to something even bigger...like being named a project center director.

We’ve goat your back: Who said Potpourri is simply a mailing list? Just as common as Girl Scout cookies and gourmet sandwiches (the most famous of which was posted half-eaten) are the alerts: car in the garage with its lights on, traffic updates heading north, road closures heading south. It even acts as a mobile lost and found: a pair of gloves near Foisie, a single earring near Kaven. After all, holiday season or not, we’ve all got to help each other out, right?

The greater good: As much as we love to poke fun at Potpourri, it’s also a pretty great way to showcase how much the WPI community cares. In addition to fostering sustainability by giving all manner of goods new life in someone else’s hands, employees are constantly fundraising for causes that mean the most to them—through runs, rides, and other events, and if you click over to make a donation yourself, there are always other WPI community members who’ve already contributed to the cause.

Happy holidays from all of us at WPI, both on and off the mailing list!

Today the Institute stands solidly atop its rounded hill, still overlooking the City and reaching toward the sky. It stands there for more than any other reason because—by some strange and wonderful supply—there have always been enough people who cared. –Two Towers

-By Allison Racicot