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Student junk rakes in big bucks at Lehigh sale

Last year's Great South Side Sale in Bethlehem
Last year's Great South Side Sale in Bethlehem

Want to know how to make $16,000 really quickly? Sell all of the unwanted items left over after Lehigh University students go home for the summer.

That is how much last year’s Great South Side Sale raked in by selling unopened food, rugs, appliances, clothing and school supplies. Things are expected to be even bigger during this year’s sale June 7.

“Considering what our prices are, we’re really thrilled with how much we bring in,” said Carolina Hernandez, an organizer of this year’s event. “We’ll make at least as much this year and hopefully a little bit more.”

In the past, the sale didn’t carry large furniture times such as sofas, but this year, Hernandez said, organizers received several very nice items, including a sectional sofa and tables that they decided to include.

Hernandez said the annual event now draws a large crowd to the South Side of Bethlehem. Students, graduates, faculty and people from across the city and Lehigh Valley attend the sale.

“The really great thing is that it’s truly a community event,” she said.

Money raised by the annual sale goes toward supporting children’s programs that the university runs on the South Side.

While it’s a great way to raise money for a good cause, I bet $16,000 would go a long way to helping a college student pay off his or her student loans. (Hint hint.) If you’re a college student and you’re school does not have such an event, maybe you can organize one. You’ll get rid of your classmates’ old junk for them and then sell it at the biggest yard sale your school’s Main Street has ever seen.

I know there is a demand.

I’m a graduate of Kutztown University – from way back. But, I still have friends that live in the borough and tell tales of the scavengers who comb through student garbage during the last few days of the semester, taking anything they think they can resell at a flea market.

Neighbors complain that they have to make sure they don’t leave anything out on their porch for fear someone will swipe it as unwanted trash.

Still, if you are indeed taking things nobody wants anymore, keeping it out of the landfill and making a nice profit, I’d call that good old-fashioned American capitalism at work.

Of course, there will be leftovers at Lehigh even after the sale. I hate to disappoint the scavengers but organizers said items that cannot be sold at the sale will be donated to Goodwill, and food will be donated to local pantries and shelters.

The sale is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fourth Street between Buchanan and Pierce streets.

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