Park City High School hosts Thrift Week for holidays
It is common to see an environmental group planting trees or promoting recycling, but few might think of the idea of selling hand-me-down clothes to help the planet. That is what Park City High School’s Conservation Club is doing to get its name out.
The club, which launched this school year, is collecting clothes from PCHS students until the week before Dec. 11. The club will wash the clothes, then, during the second week of December, sell them back to students during Thrift Week. The idea is that students can use the clothes as gifts for Christmas, said Shaun Roberts, 16, vice president of the club.
“We chose December because it’s right before the winter holiday, so people are shopping anyway,” she said. “We wanted to provide an economically sufficient, sustainable alternative (for gifts).”
Students will be able to purchase the second-hand clothes during lunch hours and after school in the glass room next to the counseling center. Clothes that are not purchased will be donated to The Christian Center or Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, Roberts said.
Cameron Shine, 18, president of the club, hopes to use Thrift Week to inform the school about how much waste is produced from clothes.
“Just thrifting a T-shirt saves a ton of water and a ton of energy,” he said. “Thrift Week is big on both saving and conserving, but also educating the community that this is a big deal.”
He also hopes the event will be a good kick-off for the club, which currently has about 50 members. Since, Shine said, ecological issues are often politicized, he wants the club’s message to focus on treating the Earth well rather than the divisiveness of climate change.
The club will continue to spread its message at the school, perhaps adding recycling bins or creating a compost area this school year, but Roberts said they are not pushing to change anyone’s habits straight out of the gate.
“Since we are a new club, we wanted something fun and exciting, yet still very relevant to our message, to introduce ourselves to the high school,” she said. “Instead of introducing ourselves as the club that makes you change your daily routine, we are introducing ourselves as the club who cares and is fun and doing something engaging.”
The club, which meets weekly, had a small activity at the start of the year in which members brought recycling bins to tailgate events and encouraged everyone to use them. Along with putting on Thrift Week, it is working on an educational program for the Little Naturalist Room in the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter to create an exhibit about climate change and its effect on Park City.
The club’s leaders are excited to educate their peers and the community about the effects humans can have on the planet, Shine said. Thrift Week is a small activity that could have a large impact in the long run.
“Our community as a whole is very environmentally conscious,” Roberts said. “We really wanted to do something that connected to students, because anyone can plant a tree. But to engage teenagers in this huge global problem in a way they want to be engaged, that will be powerful to us.”
The arsenic-and-lead-containing soil has been a contentious issue for the district, which piled it onto the junior high campus in actions that were later discovered to be in violation of a covenant with the Environmental Protection Agency.
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