Penn State Intercom......May 9, 2002

Trash to Treasure sale
items departing
students left behind

By Tracy Weaver
Housing and Foods

This year, students living on-campus will have the opportunity to give something back to the State College community by donating unwanted, usable items to a Trash to Treasure sale that will benefit local charities through a newly developed recycling program.

The Trash to Treasure sale will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 25, in the Ag Arena and all proceeds will be donated to the Centre County United Way.

"The new program will get usable items out of the refuse pile and into the hands of those that can use them," said Al Matyasovsky, a supervisor of central support services in the Office of Physical Plant.

Housing and Residence Life staff will encourage campus residents to donate usable items they do not want or are unable to take home during move-out by placing them in any of the more than 250 barrels located throughout the residence halls and commons buildings. There also will be designated areas for donated items that are too large to fit in the barrels. A number of barrels will be designated for unopened and non-perishable food that will be given to the local food bank.

The donated items will be collected and sorted by Office of Physical Plant staff and then transported to the Ag Arena in preparation for the sale. The Centre County United Way will staff the sale with volunteers from their member agencies, Penn State's Student United Way organization and the Council for Human Services member organizations.

Fraser Grigor, assistant director of Housing Services, was initially charged with finding a productive way to deal with the refuse left when students move out. He hopes the resulting Trash to Treasure sale will inspire "students to see it as a good idea and respond positively by taking advantage of an opportunity to get rid of unwanted items while also helping others in Centre County."

Both Matyasovsky and Grigor agreed that no matter how you look at it, the program is a "win-win" situation. Matyasovsky explained that even Centre County's budget stands to benefit from the program since the University's recycling programs directly affect the amount of funding the county receives from the Commonwealth to support recycling initiatives. The better recycling programs that Centre County has, the more money the county gets to support its programs.

During last year's spring semester move out, students left 158 tons (or approximately 60 truck loads) of reusable items. This amount is equivalent to the total amount of trash left after five football games. Products included everything from cameras and watches to appliances and couches. This is the largest single two-day waste stream in the entire University organization, Matyasovsky said. Early projections estimate that approximately 68 percent, or about 3,500 items, will be moved during the sale.

The University also will avoid the $8,000-$10,000 annual cost of transporting the unwanted items to a landfill and the funds normally spent for removal now will be used to collect, transport, sort and set up the May 25 sale.

For information, call Al Matyasovsky at (814) 863-4719, Fraser Grigor at (814) 865-4321 or Connie Schroeder at (814) 238-8283.

Tracy Weaver can be reached at