Conestoga news

March 22, 2024 12:26 PM

First swap of donated clothing and books a success at Cambridge campus

A clothing and book swap hosted by Conestoga’s Student Engagement office was so successful that it ended a day early.

Clothing swap.jpg
The first swap of donated clothing and books was a huge success at the Cambridge campus..

More than 1,500 items were donated by college staff, faculty and students to the first-ever swap scheduled for February 7 to 9 at the Cambridge - Fountain Street campus, but ended early because of the overwhelming response.

Over the two days of the swap, 165 people came out and on average left with 5.53 items per “transaction.” Most of those who participated were from the Cambridge campus, but others came from Kitchener’s downtown and Doon campuses as well as Waterloo.

Donations were accepted of clothing and outerwear in good used condition and freshly laundered, accessories such as sunglasses and jewelry, and books from textbooks to fiction and notebooks.

Sustainability was the event’s whole focus. Signage was reused and recycled; hangers were borrowed, donated or thrifted; rentals were used for change rooms, linens; and the little bit of remaining inventory went to community organizations to offset textile waste.

Organizer Carolyn Keays, Student Engagement programmer, was thrilled by the college community’s tremendous generosity and eagerness to help.

“They were excited to have an opportunity to refresh their bookshelves and wardrobes for free,” Keays said. “Our students are so keen to give and support, and many of them have an inherent understanding of the need for environmentally sustainable initiatives.”

That understanding contributed to a remarkable 125 volunteer applications for the swap. Of those, 37 were accepted and trained for shifts.

Keays would like to host another swap now that there’s a keen interest, not just in finding free articles but also to donate and volunteer on this environmentally and socially conscious initiative.

Conestoga’s Student Engagement supports students with getting started and transitioning to college life, finding meaningful opportunities to get involved, and developing skills and knowledge to support academic, personal and professional success. The office is committed to welcoming and including all members of the diverse college community through initiatives that allow everyone to develop a sense of belonging and connection.