Greenfire and LU Environmental Org to host thrifting event

Greenfire and LU Environmental Org will be co-hosting Thrift-A-Palooza, a free campus-wide clothes thrifting event, on Friday, Apr. 8 from 7–9:30 p.m. in the Mead Witter Room on the second floor of Warch Campus Center.  

Thrift-A-Palooza will be run on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to co-president of Greenfire and sophomore Matthew Pavlik. All clothes will be free to take, and there is no limit to how many clothes a person can take. Clothes will be displayed on tables and hanging racks, and students can try them on in the changing rooms next to Mead Witter.  

All clothes at the event have been donated by Lawrence students. Greenfire has been collecting clothes from bins in all the major residence halls for the past month and a half. Greenfire’s social media coordinator, sophomore LJ Jensen, said they had collected over 1,000 articles of clothing in a wide variety of sizes as of Mar. 31, with another week of collection still to go. The group has also collected various types of clothing, from shoes to socks to shirts and pants. 

Clothes donated at the Greenfire Colman loft’s Really Really Free Corner. Photo by Alana Melvin.

As a club, Greenfire focuses on environmental education and justice, according to Pavlik. Jensen said the group also focuses on being sustainable and eco-friendly and educating others on those topics. As thrifting is repurposing, Jensen said it’s a very sustainable practice that the group wants to encourage in students.  

“It is not environmentally friendly to throw out clothes because they can be repurposed in many different ways,” Jensen said. “We really want to encourage people to learn to donate their clothes rather than throwing them out, because they just end up in landfills and don’t biodegrade all that quickly.”  

Certain textiles, such as polyester, can take hundreds of years to decompose, according to the BBC. Naturally occurring textiles, such as cotton and linen, decompose much faster, sometimes in a matter of weeks, according to Vogue Business.  

Pavlik said that Greenfire exists on the idea of being environmentally conscious but recognizes that talking about environmental issues can be mentally draining. Greenfire hopes Thrift-A-Palooza is a balance between having fun and being aware of environmental issues and how to combat them.   

The president of LU Environmental Org, junior Emma Zelles, said that her organization got involved with Thrift-A-Palooza after a meeting between many of the environmental groups on campus. Many of the groups had a similar idea for a thrifting event because it would raise awareness of environmental issues during an event with activities people on campus are interested in.  

Greenfire was the first out of those groups to plan a thrifting event and invited LU Environmental Org to co-host with them. Jensen said Greenfire in particular drew their inspiration for the event from the Greenfire loft’s Really Really Free Corner.  

The Really Really Free Corner in Greenfire’s Colman loft is a mini thrift store, according to Jensen. Students can stop by to donate and take what they wish, entirely free, during the loft’s open door Wednesday night dinners. Jensen said students were excited about and wanted to donate items to the corner, so Greenfire decided to expand the idea into what became Thrift-A-Palooza.  

Clothes donated for Thrift-A-Palooza. Photo by Alana Melvin.

The event will also feature educational materials regarding sustainability. Jensen said there will be a table with videos explaining how to repair and repurpose your clothes. Pavlik added that they will be offering mini sewing kits and iron-on Greenfire patches. There will also be lists of local thrift stores where students can donate their old clothes, as well as resources for how to get there. 

Additionally, Thrift-A-Palooza will feature live music performed by Lawrence student band The Woebegones and Lawrence student duo Owen Finch and Nate Andalman. 

If the event leaves any leftover clothes behind, Jensen hopes to create a permanent thrift store on campus for students. Zelles is similarly hoping to hold an expanded version of Thrift-A-Palooza late Spring Term or early Fall Term 2022 with all sorts of items up for grabs in a campus-wide garage sale.  

“Everyone can get involved in environmental issues, but to what degree is very different,” Pavlik said. “It’s really easy to just come, listen to some music, and grab some clothes.”