‘Swap and Share’ to take place Tuesday

Hannah Shillo, Associate News Editor

Eastern’s Environmental Health and Sustainability class wants to help others clean out their closets while remaining environmentally friendly.

The class is hosting an “EIU Swap and Share” event in the University Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Students, staff, faculty and community members can bring in their old, lightly used clothing and other textiles to “swap” for other clothing and textiles at the event.

Robert Colombo has been teaching the environmental health and sustainability class for two years and said the students created and will run the event.

“I propose an environmental problem to the class, and I set them to work on it and they all work in different groups,” he said. “I proposed the issue of textile waste. I don’t think many people have a good understanding of textile waste, especially before we started the class.”

Allyson Turner, a sophomore environmental biology major, said textile waste can be anything from clothing to furniture to car tires.

Turner is one member of the group who created the swap and share event, and she said they have already taken some old clothing and repurposed it for people to use at the event.

“It’s all that waste that goes to the landfill and a lot of it can be broken down,” she said. “We’ve taken old T-shirts and basically made them into little bags that people can take with them to put their clothes in.”

Turner said textiles will be swapped using a ticket system.

She said people can get three tickets for each Eastern related item donated, two to three tickets for the “nicer” items and one ticket for T-shirts.

The tickets will be used as the currency for the event.

“The nicer the things you bring, the more tickets you get for them (and) the more tickets you have, the more you can buy,” Turner said. “Our main goal was to be able to donate a lot of clothes to homeless shelters and people in need so people can reduce textile waste and help those in need in the Charleston and Mattoon area.”

Colombo said anything that does not get swapped will go to homeless shelters in the area and the rest will go to Eastern’s art department and theater department.

He said the swap and share event is a good way to reduce waste in landfills.

“The major issue with textile waste is that every second of every day an entire garbage truck is filled with textile waste going to a landfill when it could be reused,” Colombo said.

Another major issue with textile waste, Colombo said, is the idea of fast fashion, which is inexpensive clothing that is quickly produced by retailers in response to the latest fashion trends.

“You’re buying clothes at really bottom prices,” Colombo said. “It becomes a human rights issue as well because every piece of clothing you own was hand sewn by somebody and when you buy a shirt for $5, it’s just not a sustainable practice.”

Turner said there will be a competition throughout the day as well.

Students involved in registered student organizations can win a pizza party for their organization and students who are not involved in organizations will have the opportunity to win gift cards to various fast food restaurants in Charleston.

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]