By Ashley Wynstra
In the basement of Stuart Hall, visitors will find a once empty space filled with new life. The Phoenix Sustainability Initiative (PSI), an RSO on campus, has launched reSTORE, a student-run thrift store that offers students an alternative option for donating and buying gently used clothing and accessories.
The space, previously home to Stuart Café, is lined with clothing racks. Purses and bags hang from a nearby shelving unit and along one wall is a commercial refrigerator that has been repurposed to host hats and shoes. Student art is also available for purchase.
Planning for an on-campus thrift store commenced last year after PSI’s Campus Waste Reduction project group hosted a pop-up thrift store. The pop-up garnered nearly $5,000 over the course of three days, and 1,000 lbs. of clothing were donated. The money raised was donated to People for Community Recovery, a local organization.
“The massive success of the event showed us the large student demand for sustainable and accessible clothing options on campus, and we realized that the best next step to expand this sustainable outlet was to open a thrift store. With the help of many campus partners including Campus and Student Life, we found a venue and planned all year to open reSTORE,” said PSI Vice-President Lucas Berard.
Isabella Bonito and Will Harding are the project group leaders for Campus Waste Reduction and led efforts for an on-campus thrift store with Berard.
The store was partially funded by a Green Fund grant received by PSI. The Green Fund supports student-led research and projects for improving campus sustainability and reducing the University’s environmental impact.
reSTORE encourages students to reduce individual waste by donating items they no longer use and to search for secondhand items instead of purchasing new. Shopping at reSTORE also supports the community, with profits being donated to local environmental groups.
“Our main goals for the thrift store are to divert clothing waste/create a circular clothing economy, provide accessible clothing options to the Hyde Park community, and to support local nonprofit initiatives through the donation of our profits,” said Berard.
Campus community members interested in donating their clothes and other small items can do so during store hours, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m. Students can also make donations at Cathey, Woodlawn, and Baker dining halls.
Although the current setup is only temporary (reSTORE is set to close at the end of the 2023 Spring Quarter), PSI hopes to one day establish a permanent site for the resale of thrifted items and encourage sustainable fashion on campus and in the local community year-round.
“Conscious consumerism, such as buying used and donating unneeded items, is vital to combat the climate crisis, but when thrift stores are located far away from our homes, consuming sustainably can be difficult. reSTORE provides an opportunity to think about your consumption patterns right on campus, and we hope to continue providing this opportunity for as long as we can,” said Berard.