Looking for a good deal? Try UAA surplus sales

Chairs and desks stacked in the UAA Surplus warehouse during a public sale. Photo credit: Ammon Swenson


When a department at UAA cycles through and replaces old equipment, they can have UAA Surplus collect the items which are then either claimed by other departments or sold. About every other month they hold a public sale.

“We sell anything from computers, furniture — even people like to buy broken computers that like to fix things — at way way lower price,” UAA Surplus lead Jonathan Canaii, said.

UAA departments have first dibs on the surplus items, but whatever isn’t reallocated is sold, donated or recycled.

“We try to avoid the landfill at all costs, if possible,” Kim Stanford, director of UAA General Support Services, said.

Stanford said UAA is required to advertise the surplus sales to the public and university guidelines don’t allow any haggling on cost, but items are priced to sell.

“We aren’t looking to make any money off the surplus sales,” Stanford said. That’s not the goal, that’s not what’s going to happen. We do want to recoup some of the costs, but it’s to make it affordable… So you can get a chair for $5 or a bookshelf for $10. That’s a pretty good deal.”

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Surplus sales have generated around $10,000 per fiscal year, according to Stanford. Despite some state appropriations, the surplus sales help to make up for costs after university budget cuts. The money helps to fund central receiving, the mailroom and surplus.

If a department has specialized equipment that needs to be sold like vehicles, kilns or items from the auto diesel program, Stanford will try to sell them on Craigslist or online auctions rather than at the surplus sales. 10 percent of the sales for specialty equipment will go to General Support Services to cover overhead costs and the rest will go back to the department the equipment came from.

Tevin Gladden, a double major in mathematics and computer science, needed a new laptop and his friend let him know about the surplus sales. He wasn’t able to go personally, but his friend picked him up a functioning laptop for $20. While it might not be in the greatest shape, Gladden said he’d much rather have something that works for cheap rather than spend hundreds or even thousands on a new computer.

As college can sometimes be a painful exercise in frugality, a good deal can make a huge difference.

“There’s a lot of good stuff there and students would definitely benefit from a lot of the things,” Gladden said.

More information about UAA Surplus can be found at the General Support Services page on the UAA website.