DURHAM, N.H. – In its second year, the massive student-organized Trash 2 Treasure yard sale at the University of New Hampshire brought in $20,150 and saved shoppers – primarily UNH students returning to campus – thousands of dollars on shower caddies, bed risers, rugs, and other student-living essentials. Held in the indoor track at the UNH Field House during move-in weekend (August 24- 26, 2012), Trash 2 Treasure sold an estimated 15,000 items plus nearly two tons of clothing, all of it collected from students moving out this past May.
Trash 2 Treasure founder Alex Freid ’13 says “freshman items” were hot sellers: The sale moved more than 100 shower caddies, 85 sets of bed risers, and 230 rugs, all cleaned and measured by volunteers over the summer. Some of the most unusual items were also the costliest: An electric scooter went for $120, and a “kegerator” – a refrigerator designed to hold students’ favorite beverages – sold for about the same.
Organizers, whose motivation is keeping useful items out of landfills, were pleased to see some of last year’s purchases return to the sales floor. “We had some things with our price tags on them from last year, and some couches we recognized,” Freid says. “We’re truly creating a closed loop.”
Freid and co-organizer Emily Spognardi ’14 credit the 120 volunteers for making this year’s Trash 2 Treasure a success. Electrical engineering students tested and rehabilitated more than 100 electronics items, and mechanical engineering students gave bicycles a new life. The group also got support from various administrative departments on campus, including athletics, housing, residential life, dining, and university police. Trash 2 Treasure donated unsold items to several nonprofit organizations around the Seacoast.
With costs of the sale at $10,000, Trash 2 Treasure organizers plan to use their net income to launch the program at other universities. Starting close to home, they’re already in discussion with students at Plymouth State University and are hoping to reach out to Keene State. “The model we have created can be replicated at any university across the country,” says Spognardi, a junior and the head organizer of this year’s program.
Long term, they’d like the UNH experience to be a springboard for a national nonprofit that helps universities around the country launch similar efforts. “We’re looking at the start of something with huge potential,” Freid says.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.
Photographs available to download:
Caption: Trash 2 Treasure volunteers await customers at the second annual yard sale at the University of New Hampshire.
Credit: Daniel Mannarino
Caption: Shower caddies and bed risers were among the more popular items for sale at the University of New Hampshire’s second annual Trash 2 Treasure yard sale.
Credit: Daniel Mannarino
Trash 2 Treasure organizers, from left, Lauren Banker '13, Erica Vazza '14, Emily Spognardi '14 and Alex Freid '13.
Credit: Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services.
Reporters and editors: Trash 2 Treasure founder and organizer Alex Freid ’13 is available at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-608-9859.