In an Effort to Promote Sustainability, UGBC Holds First Clothing Swap

With springtime comes a resurgence of familiar outdoor events at Boston College, but this week, one fashionable feature will make its debut.

UGBC first-years Carolyn Townsend, MCAS ’17, and Hailey Shewfelt, MCAS ’18, have organized a clothing swap to promote sustainability through trading and reusing unwanted items. Townsend is the director of environmental and sustainability programming in UGBC’s student initiatives branch, while Shewfelt is the assistant director. The event will take place this Friday.

“It’s essentially BC’s first-ever clothing swap, and the whole purpose of it is to encourage thrift shopping and wearing used clothes in a way to be more sustainable environmentally,” Townsend said.

Part of Townsend and Shewfelt’s larger goal with the project is to bring sustainable clothing habits into fashion.


“I think one of our biggest goals is just to show students how big of a role sustainability plays in their everyday lives, whether they know it or not.”

-Hailey Shewfelt, UGBC first-year and MCAS ’18


 

“[It’s about] promoting the culture of being able to reuse something and having that be really accessible and attractive for students here on campus,” Shewfelt said.

Townsend and Shewfelt are tabling this week to collect clothing items between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. outside of Carney or in the McElroy Commons lobby in the case of inclement weather. They will also be in Corcoran Commons between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. For each item donated, each student will receive a credit to take home one item from the swap.

The actual swap will take place on Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the Stokes Lawn. Students are free to donate clothing at the actual swap or simply purchase any item for $5. Townsend and Shewfelt stated that they have already collected a number of donations and have even found plenty of clothing to be donated when going through their own closets and their friends’ closets.

Proceeds from the swap will go to the Nature Conservancy, an international organization that promotes sustainability education and research alongside its conservation efforts.

Townsend came up with the idea for a clothing swap over a year ago.

“When I was going through my closet, I realized that I have all these going-out clothes that I never wore anymore,” she said. “And they weren’t really types of clothing you would donate to Goodwill or a homeless shelter, and a lot of my friends were in the same situation… So I came up with the idea of a clothing swap for people to get new clothes but without having to spend any more money.”

Shewfelt noted that the two biggest challenges of the swap were figuring out the logistics and promoting it at BC. She and Townsend expect many donations at the actual sale on Friday. They hope for enthusiasm and student participation, which will determine the success of the sale both this spring and in subsequent years.

“This is the first time this has happened on BC’s campus, so I think a lot of people are unfamiliar with the idea,” Townsend said. “Sometimes it’s hard to communicate new ideas like this, especially when there are so many details. So that’s definitely been a challenge for us, but I think it’s going to work out really well on the day of, and we’re very excited.”

The event precedes BC’s second annual Earth Day Fair on April 22. The Earth Day Fair, planned by the UGBC Environmental Caucus, will also take place on Stokes Lawn and will feature several groups, including BC organizations, the Environmental Sciences Department, non-BC food vendors, representatives from L.L. Bean, and campus architects. The two events will work in conjunction. Townsend and Shewflelt hope to promote awareness of and dialogue about issues of sustainability and how students at BC figure into them.

“I think one of our biggest goals is just to show students how big of a role sustainability plays in their everyday lives, whether they know it or not,” Shewfelt said.