By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer
Students for Environmental and Wildlife Protection (SEWP) took on Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, by bringing a clothing swap to students on Wednesday at Fountain Mall. Students brought clothes and were able to swap the donated clothes for free or if they didn’t have clothes to donate they paid $3 per item.
St. Louis, Mo., junior and SEWP president Claire Teng said she remembered a club holding a pop-up thrift shop her freshman year and wanted to continue that practice for the organization.
“We thought it would be great if we could keep that going and also let people give and get rid of things that they don’t need anymore,” Teng said. “We wanted to take that and add another element to it so that people could bring their unwanted clothes and then trade those in. You give and you take, which is how you should interact with the Earth, which oftentimes doesn’t happen.”
With Earth Day approaching quickly, SEWP has been present on campus and hosting activities that have grabbed the attention of a passersby who knew nothing about the organization. Baton Rouge, La., freshman Brooklyn Joseph traded in her old clothes for items that were new to her.
“I was passing by and it caught my eye,” Joseph said. “So I went to see what the organization was about.”
Joseph brought along her friends and shopped around the booth. She learned about SEWP’s contributions to the Baylor community and about the harmful effects of fast fashion, something Teng is knowledgeable about.
“The fashion industry is one of the biggest producers of waste,” Teng said. “Tons of clothes never even get bought, there’s material that’s left over and I think in America it’s also very common that people have more clothes than they need, so a lot of times it gets disposed of.”
Joseph and many other students use Shein as their form of shopping because of the abundance of styles and low prices.
“As someone who likes to shop online it’s easy to not know about it because you’re just buying things for cheap. You don’t think, ‘Why are these items cheap?’or, ‘How are they being produced so fast?’ but then they come in and they aren’t as great of quality,” Joseph said. “I think with organizations like this, it brings awareness to it, so it’s easier to go about and not really use many sites that use fast fashion.”
Joseph said the clothing swap reminded her to use in-person stores, Goodwill and secondhand events such as what SEWP hosted. This swap not only helps the environment but also the animals affected by pollution caused by humans. All of the proceeds from SEWP’s clothing swap will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund to help endangered tigers.
This is the first semester SEWP has been able to sell T-shirts and donate to an organization.
“It’s been a big year of growth for us,” Teng said.
SEWP takes care of the environment outside of Earth Day by hosting a clean up every Friday behind the Baylor Sciences Building. Anyone can help and will be able to earn volunteer hours. SEWP will be back on Fountain Mall on Thursday to sell succulents and spread the word about their organization.
“Buying secondhand is amazing for the environment, because not only are you personally reducing the amount of clothing waste that you put into the world but it’s also a good response to give back to companies who are used to producing lots and lots of cheap clothes,” Teng said. “That could change the way that businesses are producing and the way they distribute their clothes. Even though it seems like a small event on one campus, it can make a big deal if lots of people understand the mentality behind shopping secondhand and putting quality over quantity when it comes to clothes.”