Argyle Environment Club treasurer Rose Gervan and Gracie Ivany lend a hand for the clothing swap.
Brennan, co-founder and co-president, Argyle Environment Club
went to a clothing swap event, in September at Bluhouse Cafe in Deep Cove, that
was forwarded to me by my Ocean Ambassadors Canada connection, Alison Wood.
I went to see what the clothing swap would look like
and brought a couple clothing donations. The community was great there. I was
new to the clothing swap scene but right away I felt like I found my place. As
new donations started to come in, everyone helped sort and place the clothes
onto the tables in sections.
Monetary donations were optional. For a small group
and space, this was good as everyone had a thorough look at the clothes. I
thought this was a great idea and would be relatively easy to organize.
The Argyle Environment Club started planning for our
clothing swap three weeks prior to the event. The club’s co-presidents, myself
and Adreanna Cundiff, decided to split the members up into five different
committees to achieve productiveness.
We decided that the clothing swap would be on
October 24 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. For our swap, we didn’t
prioritize money and put more of a focus on reducing clothing waste.
Students could bring donations to the cafeteria or
drop them off early in our teacher sponsor, Mr. Cheng’s classroom. After our
weeks of planning and promoting our first event of the year, we started setting
up our tables in the cafeteria.
Mainly myself, Audrey and Rose Gervan, set up after
lunch for 15 minutes. As 3 o’clock approached, other members of the club left
their classes early to help with the organization of the clothing donations.
We received a variety of clothing pieces such as
accessories, shoes, outerwear, jeans, shirts and sweaters from both genders. Members
kept each section of the tables organized as students sifted through the
selection. There was a good amount of students for 15 minutes after school but
after the wave passed, we found that most students had left campus by 3:20.
Our cleanup was very easy as all of our donations
were kept well organized throughout the event. We filled about five reusable
grocery bags and one Rubbermaid bin with the 129 clothing items that were left
over. The donations were then brought to Mr. Cheng’s room, as he volunteered to
transport the donations to the Salvation Army.
We found this event a win, win, win. First, students
can get rid of clothes and shop around for FREE alternatives. Second, the
recycling aspect is ideal for reducing clothing waste rather than supporting
fast fashion. And third, no matter the turnout of participants or clothes left
over, we would donate the rest to a second-hand store. Our goal for the year is
to focus on reducing waste, whether that be plastic waste, food waste, or even
Approximately 50 to 100 students participated in the
event in ways such as donating clothes, looking/taking donations, or giving us
feedback. We received very positive peer and teacher feedback.
Many people stumbled across our event without even
knowing that we had been promoting it since early October. Many said that it
was an awesome idea and that they would have definitely donated clothes. We
asked those who were unaware how we could better promote our event to the
school; they said they didn’t know. We did daily announcements two weeks before
the swap, sent out a teacher email, put up posters around the school, used word
of mouth, and got the event posted on our PAC’s Facebook page.
We still consider this a very successful turnout but
are definitely aiming for more participants next time.
We plan to have another clothing swap after winter
break when parents are pressuring students to make room in their closet for
their new clothes from Christmas. Next time we would like to pick a more
specific charity to donate the clothes to, host it over lunchtime in the cafeteria
to draw more attention, go class-to-class with a brief presentation about the
event, and give each class a donation box so everyone can easily contribute
throughout the week.
The Argyle Environment Club meets every Tuesday at
lunch to plan sustainability initiatives such as the clothing swap, or to discuss
and take action on enforcing important environmental policies within the
A couple policies we would like support on from not only our school
administration but also the school district are: phasing out plastics in the
cafeteria and replacing them for “corn plastic” (a plastic alternative that is
compostable in a home compost) or wooden/bamboo cutlery, getting Larry’s
Market vending machines installed as a healthy and low waste alternative in
schools, and also enforcing Meatless Mondays.
The next big initiative we will
be doing is called Oceans Week. From December 9 to 13, the Argyle Environment Club will focus on education around microplastics, recycling, and how we can reduce
our plastic waste.
Our club has drastically grown since last November
when Adreanna and I first started the club. This year we have made an executive
team, so we can accomplish our events and initiatives. Our executive consists of the presidents: Olivia Brennan and Adreanna Cundiff, our two secretaries: Emma
Simpson and Jessica Jay, and treasurer: Rose Gervan.