About Us

Behind the Scenes

Benefits of the Trash to Treasure Program

It’s for a good cause:

Trash to Treasure makes it easy for students to help the local community, and all proceeds go to the Centre County United Way and its partner organizations.


It’s good for the environment:

It reduces the amount of waste the University puts into the landfill.


It’s good for the community:

The program gives residents of the Centre County community and beyond the opportunity to purchase usable items at a very low cost.


The Collection and Sorting Effort

Office of Physical Plant employees, assisted by United Way volunteers, collect items from the residence halls and transport them to the sale location. Items are sorted by community volunteers. Key elements of the effort included:

  • The Office of Physical Plant works closely with Housing to ensure that pick-ups are scheduled only when barrels were full, thus minimizing labor/equipment costs.
  • In preparation for sorting, volunteers set up 400 tables.
  • Residence hall collections start before finals and run through the final day of hall occupancy.
  • Volunteer coordinators supervise 400+ volunteers.

The Sale

Several thousand shoppers—including 2,000+ annually who pay the $5 “early-bird” admission fee—attend the June sale each year. Strategies employed on sale day include:

  • Items are sorted into different “departments” (clothes, toys, etc.) to make shopping easier.
  • Prices are reviewed annually for fairness and often compared against local yard sale prices.
  • Unsold items are donated to local charities.


The Results

The Trash to Treasure program  significantly impacts  our community. Annually, this event:

  • Averages 68 tons of donated items.
  • Saves Penn State more than $14,000 in labor and equipment costs.
  • Brings in more than 500 volunteers.

First Year (2002)

72 tons donated
$15,000 raised


Second Year (2003)

69 tons donated
$37,000 raised


Third Year (2004)

80 tons donated
$54,673 raised


Fourth Year (2005)

73 tons donated
$54,607 raised


Fifth Year (2006)

66 tons donated
$49,678 raised


Sixth Year (2007)

65.4 tons donated
$49,001 raised


Seventh Year (2008)

61.2 tons donated
$55,060 raised


Eighth Year (2009)

63.4 tons donated
$62,647 raised


Ninth Year (2010)

66.5 tons
$57,400 raised


Tenth Year (2011)

63.5 tons
$56,037 raised


Eleventh Year (2012)

76.5 tons
$60,855 raised


Twelfth Year (2013)

62.75 tons
$47,661 raised


Thirteenth Year (2014)

47.2 tons
$59,064 raised


Fourteenth Year (2015)

43.7 tons

$52,192 raised

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