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 Students, employees swap clothing; donate to local organizations

Swap for Good Shopping for clothes at the Swap for Good. Photo by SCU Office of Sustainability
In preparation for move out and other spring cleaning, the 2nd Annual Swap for Good at Santa Clara University took place in mid-May. The Office of Sustainability and the Santa Clara Community Action Program (SCCAP) collaborated to bring the end-of-the-year clothing exchange to students, staff, and faculty at Santa Clara University.

In addition to being a clothing exchange, the Swap for Good also benefited the community, as specific items collected went to support the needs of local community organizations. Many of the items went toward supporting literacy and physical education at the Alma Verde after-school program, keeping feet warm with Project Open Hand, supporting teenage girls going to prom with the Princess Project, and providing basic necessities for the women and children of the local Home Safe shelters in Santa Clara and San Jose.

One of the goals of the Swap for Good was to bring greater awareness to and build support for various local community programs that Santa Clara students already consistently volunteer for through SCCAP, as well as to provide donations to their programs in a sustainable fashion—all with little cost involved. The exchange was free for all students, staff, and faculty to participate in as both donors and shoppers!

During this year’s Swap for Good, participants were able to trade unwanted clothing (formal dresses, men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing) and other items (sports equipment, children’s books, shoes, socks) in exchange for other clothing and items swapped by others on-campus in a makeshift “store” set up in the Benson Parlors for twelve hours (from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.)Photo by SCU Office of Sustainability on Monday, May 14th. Over the weekend, student volunteers collected items from all residence halls across campus, and organized the “store” before doors opened on Monday morning.

The National Swap for Good project seeks to have 100 swaps registered across the country by the end of this spring. Santa Clara's Swap for Good has helped to support a national movement, as well as to inspire local action by encouraging students, staff, and faculty to get a new wardrobe and help raise money and awareness for local community needs at the same time.

By Michelle Tang, '13 Sustainability Intern -- Student Initiatives 

Move Out 2012
The Swap for Good was also a great way to kick off Move Out 2012 at Santa Clara. Since 2006, the Office of Sustainability has worked with the Housing Office, Facilities, and Campus Safety to provide options for responsible recycling and donations. During a stressful and hectic finals week, it is tempting for residents to simply dump everything in the nearest trash bin, but because of Santa Clara's move out process, in the last five years students have diverted over 25 tons of material during the move out process. Swap for Good has been a great addition in helping to divert a lot of the clothing that may otherwise have been thrown out at the end of the year.

Recycling during Move Out. Photo by SCU Office of SustainabilityDuring the move out process, residents will be able to donate carpets, books, as well as more clothing if they missed out on the Swap for Good. This year, many of the donations will be going to Hope Services, a nonprofit agency with the mission to assist individuals who have developmental disabilities to become valued and participating members of their communities.

One of Hope Services' initiatives includes Cycles of Hope, a program that takes donated bikes, refurbishes and then re-sells them--with all of the proceeds going to support Hope Services' mission. The bikes that were given to Casa Italiana as the 2012 Energy Challenge grand prize were purchased from this program, and the Office of Sustainability and the Housing Office are excited to continue working with Hope Services through the move out process.

In addition to donation bins, residents will also find designated areas for e-waste and normal recycling. When residents choose to either recycle or donate what they would otherwise throw out, they are not only helping to protect the environment, but they are also helping the university save money! The less we put into the dumpsters, the less the school will have to pay in landfill fees. So remember, think twice before you throw something away during move out! Most likely, the item can be donated or recycled.

By Amelia Evans, '13 Sustainability Intern -- Residence Life

Tags: Community Engagement, Get Involved, Program Highlights, Residence Life, Student Life, Waste



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