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Bellingham
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Stop shopping, start swapping

Instead of wandering aimlessly through the aisles of a thrift store, students got second-hand clothes a different way.

The main lounge at the Fairhaven Complex on Wednesday, May 3, hosted a clothing swap where students could bring old clothes, find new ones and talk about the social issues surrounding the clothing industry.

From 4  to 7 p.m., students could donate clothes they didn’t want any more and browse for new ones at several tables stacked with folded items.

“It was really great to see the community get involved because we’ve had a lot of people outside the Fairhaven residencies interested in this and ready to have a great conversation about waste in the clothing industry.”

Hanna Bridgham, freshman

Freshman Hanna Bridgham, the event’s coordinator, said the larger issue surrounding the swap was opposition to wastefulness in the clothing industry.

“The point of this event is to educate residents about clothing waste and the resources that go into clothing,” Bridgham said. “Some ridiculous amount of water is used to make clothes and a lot of clothes are not made ethically. It’s really about community engagement and having an open conversation about the waste that goes into making clothes.”

Bridgham is part of Fairhaven Go For The Green 2017, a sustainability-focused group based through a program called Residents Resource Awareness Program, Bridgham said. It was founded in 2007 and is funded by University Residencies and Western’s Office of Sustainability, according to its website.

The group has held gatherings throughout the year, including zero-waste workshops, other clothing swaps, reusable bottle giveaways and more, Bridgham said.

“It was really great to see the community get involved because we’ve had a lot of people outside the Fairhaven residencies interested in this and ready to have a great conversation about waste in the clothing industry,” she said. “I’m really excited to continue.”

Freshman Milutin Sprague came to the swap with a friend. He didn’t know about the issues surrounding the event, but showed interest when he heard about them.

“If it’s humanitarian related, I’d probably get behind it,” he said. “I know [a little bit] about it, I’ll probably try to research it more so I can be more informed.”

The swap’s location, in the Fairhaven building’s first floor, meant students who hadn’t heard about the event beforehand could find it by chance.

A student browses at the clothing swap in Fairhaven Wednesday, May 3. // Photo by Matthew Pearson

Junior Allison Bonney found the event on her way to the dining hall.

“I think it’s really cool what [Bridgham] is doing,” Bonney said. “She’s done it every month and the rest of the stuff is going to Goodwill and Value Village. It does really show a lot about how much clothes are wasted.”

Fairhaven Go for the Green will be holding another event, a showing of the movie “Cowspiracy” with vegan macaroni and cheese being provided, Bridgham said.

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