Camping out for Campus Salvage: Annual sale brings out bargain hunters
People camped out in the wee hours of Saturday, May 12, to be among the first in line for the Campus Salvage sale hosted by Sustain Coastal of Coastal Carolina University.
Jimmy Washington, a hospital worker who lives in Myrtle Beach, was one of the early birds who was first in line by midnight. His sister and two nephews were there to help him gather and carry items.
"These college students get rid of some good stuff, things that you can use in your daily life. I come to this sale every year, and I would come early just for the shoes alone," said Washington. He bought eight pairs of shoes (size 11-12), including Nikes, four tower fans, a fainting couch, four plastic containers, and lots of clothes hangers. The cost for all of it? $25.
"We've had people waiting in line before, but this was the first year people actually camped out," said Jeremy Monday, sustainability coordinator at CCU. Monday said more than 140 people paid the early-bird entry fee of $5 to enter the sale one hour before free admission started at 8 a.m.
Campus Salvage is an annual program at CCU with four main goals: diverting items from going to the landfill; filling up the wish lists of local charities; providing tangible resources to the community; and teaching the importance of reuse.
Here's how it works: For days prior to students moving out of residence halls at the end of each spring semester, Sustain Coastal brings PODS in to multiple locations around campus, and students are encouraged to donate their unwanted items by leaving them inside the PODS.
Sustain Coastal accepts just about anything, including shoes, clothes, desks, microwaves, humidifiers, dishes, rugs, even couches! Mini fridges are a popular donation, and there were even a few TVs and vacuums donated, as well as a keyboard this year.
Then the Sustain Coastal team spends days sorting through all the donations and decides which items to sell at Campus Salvage and which to donate. This year, Campus Salvage donated to 13 different local organizations. The rest of the items are sorted into PODS - 23 of them this year - which are grouped together at the PODS facility in the Atlantic Center across U.S. 501 from campus.
Many items are priced to sell for $1, most small appliances are $5, and the mini fridges are $35 apiece. Items are sold as-is, and it's a cash-only sale, but that doesn't keep people from showing up, and showing up early.
"There were eight people in line when I arrived at 4 a.m.," Monday said. "The last couple of years we have seen people in line well before 4 a.m., but never on the ground sleeping!"
Once the sale ends at 10 a.m., any unsold items are picked up by Goodwill to be dispersed and sold among their retail locations in South Carolina.
"None of the materials located in the 23 sale PODS on Saturday made it to the landfill," Monday said. "Goodwill collected nine large boxes of materials and loaded bulk items as well."
Campus Salvage raised $3,672, which is used to pay for the program and to benefit a scholarship for sustainability, and made the following donations to community organizations:
- Six bags of clothes to Associated Charities
- Six bags of nonperishable food to Churches Assisting People in Conway
- Three boxes of paper goods to Community Kitchen in Myrtle Beach
- 17 bags of clothes and 10 bags of pillows to Fostering Hope of Conway
- 37 bags of bedding, nine bags of clothes hangers, eight bags of shoes, nine boxes of miscellaneous items, nine mini-fridges and 12 pieces of household furniture to Goodwill
- Mops, brooms, and three bags of towels and blankets to Horry County Animal Care Center
- Mops, brooms, and three bags of towels and blankets to Grand Strand Humane Society
- 28 bags of bedding, shower caddies and toilet paper to North Strand Housing Shelter
- 44 bags of clothing and 12 bags of bedding to Salvation Army in Conway
- 31 bags of bedding to Sea Haven for Youth in Myrtle Beach
- Six bags of nonperishable food and bottled water to Shepherd's Table in Conway
- 11 bags of clothes to Waccamaw Youth Center
- Three bags of towels and blankets to Angel Pets
"This program provides so many tangible resources to the local community," Monday said. "Students are making a real difference when they decide to donate their items to this cause."
That difference is evident just by looking at the impact the donations make on organizations like those listed above.
"The donation of bedding will be used throughout the Sea Haven program components for all youth," said Christina B. Jackson, the executive director of Sea Haven Inc., which has been receiving donations from Campus Salvage since 2015. "In the Sea Haven Transitional Living Program, we house youth in apartments and provide the initial set up, which includes furniture, household items, bedding and more. We always utilize donations from Campus Salvage in a short period of time; they are put to great use for the youth."
Employees from CCU's Office of Financial Services were on hand for the first time this year to assist with managing cash flow, including Associate Vice President of Finance Greg Thompson.
"It was an awesome event," Thompson said. "I really enjoyed it. I thought it was neat, just the amount of stuff and the amount of people who came and participated, and it was really well organized." He even picked up a few items for his employees, including two mini fridges and microwaves, as well as a coffee pot.
The bargains didn't last long, however. PODS were empty and being cleaned out and closed before 9 a.m.
To date, the Campus Salvage sale has raised more than $25,000, and it has made annual donations to the community since the sale's inception in 2008.
For more information about Sustain Coastal, visit coastal.edu/sustain.