Curiosity led recent MU graduate Claire Lea to the east entrance of Memorial Stadium on Wednesday morning.
Lea was quickly embraced as a volunteer, given a yellow T-shirt to wear and told to sort through a row of brown recycling bins filled with items donated to the Columbia Salvation Army by MU residential hall students.
The items will be sold inside the stadium during the first end-of-school-year Tiger Treasures Rummage Sale from 7 a.m. to noon June 2.
“Everyone in town is talking about this (sale) so I thought I’d come by,” Lea said.
“I am really glad they are doing this because it would be a shame to throw all this stuff into a garbage heap.”
The “stuff” includes television sets, microwaves, mini-refrigerators, shoes and clothing — all collected at drop-off points in residential halls and sorority and fraternity houses since May 1.
Steve Burdic, coordinator of Solid Waste and Recycling for MU, said an estimated 15 tons of items have been collected. Another ton of donated food items will be given to the Central Missouri Food Bank.
“Students are in a hurry and ready to get on with their lives, so they throw these items away at the end of the year,” Burdic said. “There is some stuff that has been used, but other things that are still in boxes and have price tags.”
Salvation Army store manager Robert Wells said most clothing will be priced at $4 or less while electronics and other goods will be priced based on quality.
“We want to keep things simple and hold the prices down for the public,” Burdic said.
Phil Shocklee, associate director of Campus Facilities, said the idea for the rummage sale came last year when his department was looking to reduce the number of items MU sends to landfills at the end of each school year. The rummage sale will cut down on what is typically thrown away by 15 to 20 percent, Burdic said.
“Each year a large amount of good items are discarded,” Shocklee said. “All revenue gained will benefit Salvation Army programs here in the community.”
Burdic said there will be seven cash registers and at least 100 volunteers are needed to serve an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 shoppers expected on the day of the sale. Any items not sold at the rummage sale will be given to the Salvation Army to sell in its two Columbia thrift store locations.
Wells said proceeds will benefit community development programs and organizations such as Harbor House, a maternity home for pregnant teens.
“They have been doing sales like this at Notre Dame and Penn State for years,” Wells said. “They have raised as much as $50,000 from a one-day sale. We want to make it a communitywide event that raises funds and awareness for the Salvation Army.”
Admission into the sale is free from 7 a.m. to noon. Those who show up at 6 a.m. will get first dibs on the items for a $5 early-bird admission.
Volunteers are needed to help sort items until the day of the sale, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They should report to the east entrance of Memorial Stadium.