Annual Trash-to-Treasure event breaks records

June 11, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The numbers are in: this year's Trash-to-Treasure sale, held at Beaver Stadium on Penn State's University Park campus, was a record-setter. The sale of a record 75.1 tons of gently used student donations generated more than $60,000 for agencies of the Centre County United Way, marking the highest single-year return in the event's 11-year history. Since 2001, Trash-to-Treasure has raised about $500,000 for the United Way and has diverted hundreds of tons of used items from area landfills.

Thousands of shoppers showed up on Saturday morning, June 2, for the biggest nonfootball-related event ever held at the stadium. At 7:30 a.m. the line extended half-way around the stadium from the main gate. Head football coach Bill O'Brien voiced the countdown, the gates rose and the crowd swarmed into the sale area under the bleachers. Al Matyasovsky, co-chair of the Trash-to-Treasure Committee, was delighted with the public response and called this year's event, "the best sale ever, with our highest return ever at $60,855 and a record 75.1 tons of donations." When the results of several online auctions are tallied, the totals sales are expected to approach $65,000.

United Way representatives called the event a shining example of Penn State community cooperation; Trash-to-Treasure is a win-win event for the University and the surrounding community. Among the benefits:

-- The University's Office of Physical Plant avoids 75 tons of waste transport to the Centre County Waste Authority.

-- Penn State Housing saves overtime on reduced need for cleaning.

-- Penn State students have the opportunity to demonstrate and learn philanthropy.

-- The event has raised about $500,000 for Centre County United Way agencies since its inception in 2001.

-- Centre County families have access to used items at great prices; and

-- Other Penn State campuses, and universities around the country, have adopted Penn State's model for managing student leftovers.

With more than 75 tons of gently used items donated by Penn State students, staff members from Penn State Housing and the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) faced the huge logistical challenge of gathering and moving everything to the stadium. OPP crews under the direction of Jim Brown, group leader for Central Services, kept the United Way volunteers extremely busy sorting the contents of hundreds of collection bags. The volunteers who sorted those bags were tirelessly managed by Penn State professionals Carolyn Lambert and Janda Hankinson.

Event co-chairs David Manos and Conal Carr, Kathy Stem, Pamela Richards-Vinosky and Aaron Knight from Housing and Food Services, as well as April Geffre-Irwin from Penn State Hotels, and Auxiliary and Business Services, all worked diligently behind the scenes. Don Reed, Frank Pope and Glenn Feagly took care of the security, parking and salvage needs of the event.

Trash to Treasure is a joint effort of the Office of Physical Plant, Penn State Housing, and United Way. Housing organizes the student donations, OPP takes care of all the logistics, and United Way manages the sale and volunteers. Beaver Stadium is provided for the sale duration by the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Information regarding next year’s sale will be posted at


  • Volunteer Kenyan Cattell organized the shirt area on May 31 in preparation for the 11th annual Trash to Treasure event at Beaver Stadium on Penn State's University Park campus. To see photos taken at the event, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 19, 2012