The Genesee Valley Cooperative hosted their first clothing swap of the year on Saturday Sept. 10 in the backyard of the co-op house on 23 North St. The cooperative is a student-run organization that promotes a sense of community by engaging in sustainable and locally-oriented lifestyles. In a co-op, a group of students live together in a house and “cooperate” by pooling their resources and doing their share of work. Currently, there are seven members of the co-op living in the house, but there are many other active members who contribute to the organization.
“We try and involve community events with living,” senior psychology major Jessica Beneway said. “It’s like living in a college town rather than just being a student here.”
For the clothing swap, students were encouraged to bring old clothes that they no longer wear. All clothes were free for anyone to take, and clothes leftover after the swap were donated to the local Goodwill store. Shirts, skirts, rompers, jeans and even workout clothes were laid out on picnic blankets for students to choose from.
“Not only is this clothes swap good for giving leftover stuff to Goodwill and giving back to the community, but it’s also a sustainable way to get new clothes,” Beneway said. “Instead of going out and buying new stuff from corporations and companies that don’t have very ethical standards, you can get some old ‘new’ stuff and keep the cycle flowing.”
While the clothing swap is comparable to shopping at Goodwill, it is more accessible and useful to college students because of the types of clothes donated. At Goodwill, it may take hours to find an article of clothing that appeals to you or is in your size. At this clothing swap, however, college students around the same age—who all wear relatively similar clothes—provided the available apparel.
“We have a lot of friends in the LGBTQ+ community who want some new clothes,” senior Emily Holdgruen said. “We try to create an judgement free zone when people come and take clothes that they might otherwise be nervous about buying in public.”
In addition to the actual clothing swap, the cooperative ensured that the event was also a fun place to hang out and relax with friends. They provided vegan food and refreshments, along with some music to create a more comfortable atmosphere on the hot, muggy day.
The clothing swap exemplifies the beliefs and ethics of the cooperative. By having a group of students pool together their resources, they are able to produce a more desirable outcome through the collective that benefits the community and themselves.