Next week, students can simultaneously help the Earth and their closet at the same time.
The Office of Sustainability is currently collecting donations for a pop-up thrift shop to celebrate Earth Day. Until this Sunday, April 18, students can place gently used and clean clothing, dorm decorations and other items that could be re-used in the green bins located in the Farinon atrium, the lobby of Marquis Hall and near the entrance of Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center (RISC).
The thrift shop will be held on Earth Day, next Thursday, April 22, on the courtyard outside of RISC. Students can sign up for thirty-minute time slots between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. using a sign-up link on OurCampus and the @lafthriftshop Instagram. Walk-in visits are also welcome, as long as the limit of fifteen people at one time is not exceeded.
And while everything at the shop will be free, there will be suggested donations that will go to a local Easton charity, which has yet to be chosen.
Julianna Carpenetti ’21, the student lead on the project, explained that the Gateway Career Center is helping to promote the event and donate clothes from their Career Closet, an initiative that allows students to borrow business clothing for interviews or professional events.
“There’s actually really nice clothes you can get if you do take the time to go thrifting, if you do take the time to go through things and by giving something another life you’re helping to reduce your carbon footprint a little bit, and helping to reduce your overall waste in general, and I think that’s a really great thing,” Carpenetti said.
Clothes that are not given away after the thrift shop will be donated to a local cause in Easton. This year’s cause has also not been chosen yet, but in the past, remaining items have been donated to local shelters or thrift shops, according to Carpenetti.
And there is an additional incentive for thrift shop-goers: every participant who attends will be entered into a raffle for Office of Sustainability merchandise and LaFarm salsa.
“Everyone loves LaFarm salsa,” Carpenetti added.
Sharon Engel ’22 explained in an email that in prior years, the thrift shop has taken place during EarthFest on the Quad or in Farinon’s Marlo Room. While not much had to be changed this year to fit COVID-19 protocol, the donated clothing will be quarantined before the shop.
“My goal is to get as many people to go to the thrift shop as possible and to give as many of our donated clothes a new home as possible,”explained Carpenetti. “I think it’s a great way to celebrate Earth Day, it’s a great way to promote the Office of Sustainability, where it is, what it does, kind of the phases behind it especially since everything has been virtual with COVID and everything. I think it’ll be a fun interactive way to promote sustainability in a way that people really like to do on a college campus.”
A larger goal of the event is to eventually create a permanent thrift shop on campus.
“This is a great way to help you clean out your closet and go through things, so I think that would be a great thing to do at least yearly, at most by semester, but the perfect solution would be if we could go forward and have an on campus thrift shop, where we could have it be kind of an all year round thing,” Carpenetti explained.
To support this goal of the thrift shop becoming a permanent staple on campus, students can fill out the survey on the thrift shop’s instagram page, which will be how the Dyer Center will decide how to allocate their money for it, according to Carpenetti. She also said that student participation in the thrift shop will be used as statistics to gauge how popular the event is on campus.
Another purpose of this thrift show is to raise awareness of how the fast fashion industry contributes to environmental waste.
“Just looking at the donations that I get, so much of those things would have been thrown in the trash. It’s really great to be able to repurpose these things, to advertise them and get students excited about something that may be old to someone else, but becomes new to someone else that will give it a new home,” Carpenetti said.
She added that the fast fashion industry contributes to water waste and exploitation of workers, along with other unintended consequences that the average consumer might not think about.
“So I think the best way as college students…to go about that is to start small with something like a thrift shop, and kind of introduce these ideas to make it more of a habit for when they’re out on their own in the future,” added Carpenetti.
“Being outside opens up a lot of possibilities for the Thrift Shop in the midst of Covid, and I’m hopeful that folks will still have fun and get some good items out of it!” Engel wrote.