Back to School—And Back to the Poster Sale
What’s a tell-tale sign that it’s the first week of classes at Penn State? How about the poster sale upstairs at the HUB?
The event is hosted by Beyond the Wall, a Stroudsburg-based company which holds more than 700 poster sales at colleges across the country over six weeks throughout the year.
Penn State’s poster sale is one of the three largest, salesman Matt Reinke said, along with University of Illinois and University of Texas-Austin. Beyond the Wall has been in business with Penn State for over 20 years. Reinke has worked the event for the last 12.
I wandered upstairs last week to check out the sale, which is much smaller in spring than in fall—when most students are first moving in to new dorms or apartment.
“Our fall poster sale is about five times the size of the spring one,” Reinke told me as he worked the cash register.
So what has changed in the 12 years Reinke’s been around?
“Over the years I’ve noticed that our most popular posters have shifted from more art-based posters to pop culture posters,” Reinke said. “I don’t know what that says about people or our society; it’s just what I’ve noticed.”
Recently, movie posters have been the biggest hits. Inception posters are best-sellers in the last year, Reinke said, as well as classics like prints from Boondocks Saints and Goodfellas.
“Guys love the gangster stuff,” Reinke said, with a laugh.
The selection of posters include just about everything: Photographs of the Eiffel Tower, Quotes from Albert Einstein and Bob Marley, a list of beer pong rules and a full cast photo of the Scranton-based TV series The Office.
Some classics never go out of style, Reinke said. Prints of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn have consistently sold well.
Another all-time best-seller is posters from the 1978 comedy Animal House. John Belushi is perfect for a frat house in 1992 or 2012, no?
I remember going to the event my freshman year. I probably spent more than 30 minutes grazing through the aisles, amazed at the selection. For most of the summer, I looked at flea markets and old record shops searching for posters to decorate my East Halls dorm with—without much luck—and here they were all in one place.
I ended up walking away with a huge Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA print—an homage to my Jersey roots—which I got great use out of until I accidentally ripped it during move out of sophomore year.
I also bought an Andy Warhol print of the Brooklyn Bridge, which still hangs in my apartment.
What did you hang on your dorm room or apartment walls at Penn State?
Emily Kaplan, intern