Brookings clean-up week provides treasures and much needed items for students

Nathan Sanderson

Nathan Sanderson

For one glorious week each spring, SDSU students are able to reap the bounties of this land free of charge. With barbarian skill, they pillage and plunder, taking whatever booty they can and drag it home like Black Beard’s lost treasure. Yes, I am talking about the Brookings City Spring Clean-up.

For seven days, college students have free roam over the junk that average citizens throw away; they rebuild, recondition, reconstruct and get just a little more life out of items that are used but not used up. The conversations during this week goes like this: “Hey man, need a new TV? There’s a 19-inch over on Eighth Avenue.” “Does it work?” “We’ll find out later, but we have to hurry before someone else gets it!”

Fifty percent of the items found in the dorm room of a second year student probably came from the Brookings Spring Clean-up of last year.

It’s amazing what some people throw away (TVs, chairs, couches, bunk beds. Hey, that’s valuable merchandise to a college student!) and the lengths that students are willing to go to get that stuff. I’ve seen pickups with five guys in them cruisin’ around town in the afternoons. When they find a choice item, like a really good couch, they pounce on it with all the intensity and determination of a NASCAR pit crew. “OK guys, we gotta keep this run under 15 seconds! Ready, GO!” Into the back of the pickup it goes, and some lucky SDSU student will be makin’ out on that couch next year.

I have competed in this “scavenger hunt” several times and have fared well. I recently found a large stand-up grill that, with $30 of parts and an hour of axle grease, has cooked my steak in fine style. And it tastes all the better knowing that I saved that grill from a premature death (not to mention that fact that I got a mighty fine $150 grill for 1/5 that much).

However, it is difficult to know when an item is in good shape, or if it just looks that way. Often, what appeared to be lost gold on the edge of the street looks like trash in your room. But who cares? If it doesn’t work, is broken or just doesn’t look right, leave it in a dumpster behind one of the dorms; they’ll never know where it came from anyway.

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