On Nov. 20 in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics & Recreation Center (MPOARC), from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., students from the sustainability club got together to sell, donate, upcycle and creatively reuse old textiles in order to reduce their environmental impact. The students of St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) were welcomed to buy and sell old clothes in order to learn about sustainable living. Students Julianna Parreco (‘21) and Lindsay Bull (‘21) organized the event in order to sell old clothes and start a new SMCM tradition.
Parreco reflects that it was a great opportunity to sell the clothes she has collected over the years. “I got a lot of clothes from friends, outgrew or just didn’t like the clothes that I was selling. I chose to make all the profits go towards the campus farm. I am a student manager there and I will use the money for supplies at the farm.” She made a profit of $20 which, although not a lot, she said was fun to make. She notes that “the enthusiasm of some of the students was amazing. They really enjoyed knowing their money was going to something that some of them learned about that day. It was a great way to get the word out for the farm.” Whereas Bull reflected, “the turnout was very small and a bit disappointing. Me and Julianna were the only ones actually selling things. I made 25 dollars selling my needle felted bees and beeswax candles.”
Selling the clothes prevents them from getting thrown away and eventually deteriorating in a landfill. Parreco and Bull agree that they would have donated them if they could not sell the clothes. Both felt that selling items for clothes or jewelry at an inexpensive price is a great way to make it less about making money and more about cause. Parreco adds she wanted to highlight to every person who bought from herthat the money was going to the farm. Bull points out, “Huge companies in poor countries with very little environmental regulation or fair labor laws are mass-producing cheaply made clothing that is sold to us here in the US. Those factories create a lot of pollution and the workers are given terrible working conditions and very low wages.”
The farm is a place where students are trying to create a more sustainable campus. Parreco notes that they have compost piles, garlic planted as insecticides, rainwater collection and no-till farming. Those are just some of the sustainable projects students do at the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm. When students avoid throwing out fabric they extend the usage of that finite product and prevent them from being added to the harmful and smelly gases put off from landfills and incineration stations.
Bull and Parreco hope to have another opportunity like this- and many more! They note “selling and buying clothes is a very fun, exciting, and stress-relieving process for many college students. It connects us in beautiful ways and allows for new friendships and acquaintanceships to form. We are not only planning on doing yard sales but we have intentions to host ‘jewelry making out of creative things’ and ‘tie-dye old clothes’ days. We want to bring people together and practice small environmentally friendly things every chance we can get.” Bull also states, “We hope to have another yard sale in the spring when the weather is nice. That way we can have it outside and maybe more people will participate.”