Penn Christmas 2011

Every spring West Philadelphia residents descend upon the sidewalks and dumpsters around UPenn to pick through the goodies left behind by rich kids moving out of their dorms, frat houses and apartments.  This phenomenon, affectionately called Penn Christmas by Philly natives, has now been documented in a Youtube video created by WHYY’s Peter Crimmins.

Crimmins quotes the old adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as he shows off the spoils of his UPenn dumpster diving, including a working hard drive with Korean dance videos and the full details of a student’s bank accounts.  Other UPenn dumpster divers have found thousands of discarded treasures including minifridges, microwaves, books, clothes, shoes, television sets, rugs, lamps, unopened food, and personal letters and photographs.  Picking through these possessions can be a thrifty way to furnish an apartment, but it can also be a fascinating anthropological study into the lives of strangers.  A person’s trash can tell a story, and there are plenty of people in this city who are willing to search through the chaos and debris left behind to find these stories.

Check out West Philly Local’s original post.

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Diana Allinger

Diana Allinger is a Temple University graduate who works full time trying to justify her degree in English to others. She is a poet, artist, critic, and thrift store enthusiast. Diana loves Philadelphia and enjoys attending the city’s amazing artistic and cultural events.

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  • Joe S.

     I think a cool project would be to find a Dumpster Rental Philadelphia and make a type of charity drive.  Where people throw out what they don’t want anymore and people take turns to go through it and take one or two things. Kind of like a swap meet or something.

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