Imagine the upper level of the Commons as a thrift shop, where groups of students gather to browse through the donated clothes and accessories of other students, professors, and community members. Now shift your thoughts to 2,832.3 miles away in Guatemala, where some children struggle to eat three meals a day, much less have new clothing. Last Friday, the YPCA held a clothing exchange to help fund YPCA trips and contribute to the nonprofit Christian organization “Hope For Guatemala.” YPCA’s yearly spring break trips provide EMU students with the opportunity to do community service in various parts of the country. Hope For Guatemala, or Esperanza Para Guatemala, was started in 2005. They describe their mission as “…to provide the children and families with tools for their spiritual, physical, emotional, and educational development through specific integrate programs that help to treat the roots of poverty and not just the symptoms.”
The clothing exchange started Thursday, where students, faculty members, and community members donated clothing and accessories. First year Sara Neubert said, “I was skeptical the day I went to drop my clothes off. I did not think there would be any quality clothing.” In exchange for a donation and $5 contribution, each person received tickets in direct relation with the type and amount of items that they donated. The clothing exchange began at 6 p.m. and ended at 9 p.m., with the last hour providing people with the opportunity to buy anything left behind for $1.
Sophomore Alicia Poplett said, “the clothing exchange was a great way to get rid of clothes that you didn’t have use for anymore on a very local level and was fun to be able to pick out new clothes.” There was an air of excitement regarding the amount and quality of clothes and accessories donated. “I was pleasantly surprised. I picked pieces that I would not normally buy in a store, but, given this scenario, I was willing to take a chance on it,” said Neubert.
Both Poplett and Neubert were amused at the idea of seeing other people around campus wearing their donated items. “It will be a bit funny if I end up seeing someone else on campus wearing the clothes I donated,” said Poplett.
-Meggan Garcia-Sheridan, Contributing Writer & Devon Fore, Ads Manager, Style Editor