To raise awareness in their school, members of Green Highlands student organization held a clothing swap at the Cartersville campus in coordination with the Nov. 15 observation of America Recycles Day.
In the weeks leading up to the annual program sponsored by Keep America Beautiful, Green Highlands encouraged students, staff and faculty to donate clothing items which were collected and assembled for a campus-wide clothing swap. The clothes that were donated prior to America Recycles Day were then made available to all students for reuse.
“We had lots of clothes donated. We probably had more than 400 articles of clothing donated,” said Green Highlands Advisor and Biology Lab Coordinator Devan Rediger. “We set up clothing racks borrowed from The Church at Liberty Square and we were able to set up a free clothing swap store. Students would come in at their leisure and look through clothes to take what they could use.
“And what was left over, maybe 200 or so articles of clothing and shoes, were donated to a church ministry called Sought Out. Once a month, they go around the county giving away food and clothing. So they came and picked up what was left and immediately took it back out to the community.”
The students behind Green Highlands decided on the project in part due to the book “Where Am I Wearing?” by Kelsey Timmerman, which examines the countries and factories that produce much of North America’s clothing. Those involved with the student organization were able to highlight issues of poverty and globalization alongside the waste associated with modern American culture.
“The importance of America Recycles Day is to draw awareness to the local community of the importance of recycling and conserving all our resources,” Rediger said. “Ultimately, swapping clothes can reduce the resources used to produce new clothing and of course all the resources that go into making it, transporting it and the monetary resources used in the purchase of new clothes.”
With the success of the group’s inaugural clothing swap, Green Highlands hopes to continue a similar project in the future and is looking at opportunities to sustain a continual clothing swap on campus. In an effort to expand recycling habits on campus, the student organization seeks to make recycling a focus year round, not just once a year.
“Not only does recycling clothing help financially, but I was hearing folks say that they just throw clothes away,” said Green Highlands President Joseph Slay. “Even if clothes are stained or have paint on them, that’s not always necessary, there could be someone out there that needs new work clothes. It’s still keeping that clothing out of the landfill and putting it into someone’s hands that can actually use it.
“We would talk to professors that brought clothes and they were amazed that students would want them. You may not even think that those people could trade clothes, but that really showed us that what one person doesn’t want anymore is awesome to someone else.”
For more information on Green Highlands, visit www.highlands.edu/site/green-highlands.