North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Nov 13
Argyle clothing swap a success

clothing swap 2.jpgArgyle Environment Club treasurer Rose Gervan and Gracie Ivany lend a hand for the clothing swap. 


By Olivia Brennan, co-founder and co-president, Argyle Environment Club


I 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 clothing waste.

swap.jpg

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 school.

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.

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