As part of 13 Days of Green, a program celebrating the days leading up to Earth Day with green events, the Colgate Office of Sustainability hosted a “pop-up” thrift shop in an effort to raise awareness about the harmful impacts the fashion industry has on the environment.
The Pop-Up Thrift Shop, which took place from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Coop TV room on April 18, brought together a large number of students and faculty looking for free clothes and a way to learn more about fast fashion and how to reduce their impact on the environment.
The thrift shop featured donated items ranging from outerwear and formal wear to casual attire and pajamas. All of the items were donated by students or organizations on campus through a widespread clothing drive effort.
The main goal of the event was to educate members of the Colgate community about the benefits that come with donating and wearing recycled clothing. All of the clothing at the pop-up shop was free for students and faculty members to take. Clothing that was left over at the end of the event was donated to a variety of charities and organizations based in Hamilton.
Pamela Gramlich, Program Coordinator for Environmental Studies and Sustainability and one of the main coordinators of the event, noted that there was a constant stream of students in attendance.
Gramlich also expressed the importance of hosting the annual thrift-shop.
“It’s a great way to show people that you don’t need to go out to the store or order on Amazon to get new clothes—you can do that right around the corner and share with your neighbors,” Gramlich said.
Gramlich explained that thrifting clothes is a good sustainable practice for students to apply to their everyday lives.
“Anytime we can reuse clothes is a great example of... being able to provide students an opportunity and demonstrate to them that just because your clothes aren’t of use to you anymore, doesn’t mean they can’t be of use to somebody else,” Gramlich said.
Gramlich said that the event served as a major educational moment for students in particular, embodying the importance and ease of adopting sustainable actions and lifestyles.
Every year, 13 Days of Green serves as a consistent effort to raise awareness about sustainable living on campus, which the Office of Sustainability believes is an important, attainable lifestyle to embody at Colgate. The Pop-Up Thrift Shop is one of the postmark events during 13 Days of Green.
In addition to the thrift shop, other events held during the 13 Days included a beekeeping trivia night at the Colgate Inn, an ice cream social outside of the Colgate Memorial Chapel and an Earth Day Action Party on the Academic Quad.
Despite the minimal effort that is necessary to wear recycled clothing, the impact that it has on the environment is significant.
“If you can get things used, thats a huge savings in your environmental footprint, and can really help out when it comes to carbon emissions associated with supply chain systems that produce the clothes that we wear,” Gramlich said.
The engagement and effort from students and faculty made the event very successful. The closing day of events was on April 22, which featured an official announcement that Colgate has reached carbon neutrality, an Earth Day Action Party and a lecture given by journalist Ann Curry about climate change.
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