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Trash To Treasure: What Happens To Items Left In Dorms?

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those things that college kids, in their excitement for summer, leave behind while moving out of their rooms? After complimenting my friend’s shirt at brunch the other day, I discovered exactly where all those forgotten treasures go. These forgotten items, along with numerous donations by the community, are sold at the annual end-of-semester Trash to Treasure event.

The efforts of Trash to Treasure, which takes place at Beaver Stadium, are beneficial to the community as well as the environment by decreasing the amount of trash sent to landfills. The tradition began in 2002, making this year its 14th summer. The event takes place in June and brings in more than 2,000 people each year.

With the help of 500 volunteers, Office of Physical Plant employees collect the items from the residence halls and transport them to the sale location. Students and residents of the community are then able to sort through donated and forgotten items at their leisure.

For only $20 each, visitors receive a tote bag that they fill with as many items as they can carry. All of the items are categorized to make the browsing a bit easier. Penn State freshman and local resident Matthew Lang has been going to the event for the past couple years.

“I found a pair of brand new boots there that would have cost around $170,” Lang reported. But because of the $20 tote sale, the purchase was a breeze.

The best part: In addition to helping students finding unique items and cleaning up the campus and community, all of the proceeds go to the Centre County United Way and its member organizations.

“The event is a shining example of Penn State community cooperation,” said a United Way representative. “Trash to Treasure is a win-win event for the university and the surrounding community.”

The first Trash to Treasure occurred in 2002 and raised $15,000. That annual total has continued to increase, with last year’s event bringing in $59,064. To date, the event has raised over $500,000 total. While the tonnage of items has fluctuated over the years, ranging anywhere from 47 to 80 tons, the event continues to bring great positivity for the community.

The event is the largest one to take place in Beaver Stadium, second only to football games, and is set to continue its history of success this summer — so before you pack up and leave Happy Valley, be sure to swing by Trash to Treasure for an opportunity at secondhand gems.

As we near the end of the spring semester, we’ll be sure to provide an update on date and time for this year’s Beaver Stadium Trash to Treasure sale.

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About the Author

Allison Doluisio

I'm a sophomore from Bucks County, PA. Or as everyone says, "Right outside of Philly." My parents first date was at the Corner Room so I have pretty much been bleeding blue & white since birth. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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