WestThrift promotes sustainability and equity

At the end of the path that descends along the left side of the blue College of the Environment (COE) The building at 284 High Street to the back door is WestThrift, where students can purchase a new outfit, dorm accessory, or even a baseball cap for free.

Items are in great condition and displayed like any thrift or consignment store, on racks and shelves, sorted by dresses, blouses, shirts, sweaters, jeans/denim, dressier pants, handbags and hats. They also have footwear ranging from slippers to boots and dorm items.

According to Jen Kleindienst, director of sustainability, this project took ten years to prepare. The key to both short-term and long-term success was having a dedicated space, in this case, the WCC basement, and making it exist beyond the academic semester or year it started. Eco-facilitators Annie Volker ’24 and Debbra Boh ’24 came up with a solid plan for future students to retain ownership and found an underutilized space that could house it permanently. Kleindienst described Volker and Boh as “two of the most organized and thoughtful students…if anyone could do it, they would.”

WestThrift came together with help from sources ranging from WCC staff, who helped consolidate storage to make space available, at a cost of Green fund, who helped buy clothes racks for dresses, coats and blouses, as well as tables for clothes bins. Additionally, a large portion of the donations came from the Resource Center and Open House, which donated gender-affirming clothing, including chest binders. Donations will be accepted on an ongoing basis. “During the grand opening, I overheard three college students say they could bring back clothes from fall vacation to donate,” Volker said.

The store is a simple solution to a complicated idea of ​​sustainability and equity, an important consideration in Wesleyan’s long-term planning. When students travel off campus to shop or donate, there is an added layer of pollution if they use a car, but also waste, as large-scale donation sites often resell only a portion of what is given, according to a recent article in Atlantic.

Having the ability to obtain and donate clothing on campus makes it more accessible to students, and appropriate donation pathways have been established for items that do not find a place. Another difference from a donation center like Goodwill is that it is not a dumping ground. “Dorm items should be in great condition, and clothing, handbags and accessories should be immediately wearable,” Kleindienst said.

Donations are accepted at any time in the designated container outside the door or during store hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Normal postage rules apply – clothing must be clean and wearable. No repairs or ironing will be carried out on site, so you can repair the missing buttons before depositing them.

As the season changes, WestThrift needs donations of cold weather clothing, including boots, coats, scarves and hats, casual wear to job interview workwear for all expressions. gender and all sizes. You can find more information and stay updated on future events at their website.

They will be hosting events throughout the academic year, with the first being October 8th. The Sustainable Marketplace event for Wesleyan students will explore different ways to ethically interact with fashion. Students will be hired to repair clothes with sewing machines, free mini sewing kits, and students will sell their recycled fashion pieces. To stay up to date, follow Wesleyan Sustainability on Instagram @sustainablewes or subscribe to Office of Sustainability mailing list.

About Renee Williams

Check Also

Growing kids, shrinking footprints: The Shwap Club trades in clothes for outgrown kids

Breadcrumb Links parenting New Local News Members of the Shwap Club like that the thrift …