With Black Friday on the horizon, it’s easy to get caught up in the consumerism of the season. Sales on everything you knew or didn’t know you wanted or needed, from half-price electronics to life-size teddy bears. As fun as gifting, flying home, and making tons of food can be, we often forget that all these goodies take a hefty toll not just on our bank accounts but on the environment, too. So when I heard about Green Club’s clothing swap I was eager to participate, as it’s a great way to get more things but with less of an impact.
Students from all over campus brought clothes to Pocket Park last Friday, and a half a dozen or so volunteers – myself included – took up the task of turning a mountain of motley bags into a presentable display. Within an hour, the articles of clothing were sorted by type, and students peaked in before opening to see what was in store. The swap was organized as a one-for-one, meaning that for a clothing item or a dollar you could take one item – anything from a sequined crop-top to a blazer – in exchange. By the official start of the event the place was buzzing with students (and even staff!) ransacking the piles for hidden gems.
Everyone who came walked away with an exciting find, showing that one man’s trash really can be another man’s treasure. But what’s the best part? All of the leftover clothing was donated to those in need in New Orleans, and all of our “new” clothes were simply up-cycled and, true to our cause, 100% green.
I had never been to a clothing swap before and I was anxious to go to the Green Club’s one because it seemed like a cool idea. I didn’t realize that I had conjured any expectations of it until they were immediately proven wrong when I arrived to Pocket Park Friday afternoon – the setting of the swap. I was expecting a table – yes, just one – with a giant pile of clothes all jumbled and tossed around. I imagined a few members of the green club monitoring this table with a few other members of the green club sifting through the hodgepodge of clothing in effort to find something they could wear for a situation such as Halloween or Mardi Gras. So after school on Friday I scrutinize my clothes that I brought with me to Tulane and grab four t-shirts to bring to the swap. Upon arrival I was stunned by the size and effectiveness of the swap. There was a table at the entrance where you could bring your own clothes to earn credits. Each piece of clothing was one credit and shoes were two. Then there were various tables and racks with sorted out clothing, pre-organized for swappers, including, tank tops, t-shirts, casual and fancy shirts, dresses, rompers, shorts, pants, ect. Some of these were even divided by gender – for example men’s pants and woman’s pants. I was really impressed; also at the amount of people that were present. There were constantly people at each table finding stuff they liked and asking their friends for their advice. I found a cute winter dress, a pink tank top, and two pairs of shorts – one of which was Brandy Melville! Once I was ready I made my way to the check out table to mark off my credits and to show off the gems I found.
I imagine it would be very difficult to leave that clothing swap disappointed. Mostly because of how happy I left the swap myself but also from seeing how excited people were, running up to their friends and showing them something they found. Now, a few weeks subsequent, I can’t even count the amount of people that have come up to me asking me when the next clothing swap is. Either they went to it, were just as blown away as I was, and can’t wait for the next one or they heard from a friend how awesome it was, are heartbroken they missed out, and want to make sure they make it to the next one. Either way, all those people and myself are waiting and excited for the next one.