Scene on Campus


A line snaked around the block outside Ingalls Rink on May 19 as hundreds of people waited for a chance to claim the detritus of this year’s student exodus. Inside the Whale, staff had assembled a Wal-Mart of free used goodies: textbooks and coffee mugs and IKEA bookshelves and well-worn futons. When the door opened at 10:30 a.m., shoppers entered and objects quickly disappeared. Nearly 500 people—Yale students and employees, staff of local nonprofits—had the rinkful of materials all but cleared in under an hour.

Julie Brown

Julie Brown

View full image

It was one of two “Spring Salvage” days, designed to give second lives to objects left homeless when students abandoned their dorms at year’s end. “It’s only a piece of trash if you can’t find a home for it,” says C. J. May ’89MEM, Yale’s recycling coordinator and one of the gurus behind the salvage events. In this case, almost nothing was trash. The scavengers left behind only a few items: old couches, some broken electronics and badly damaged shelving, a synthetic Christmas tree, and a surfboard.

View a stop-action video of disappearing discards.

The comment period has expired.