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The Gift of Thrift

Date: December 1, 2008

“As a Christian institution, it is important for students to practice stewardship and raise environmental awareness…The purpose of The Gift of Thrift was to encourage recycling and not wasting things because the earth doesn’t have infinite resources: It has finite resources!” said Christine Wallace, research coordinator of the Andrews University Village Green Preservation Society (VGPS).

With these and other environmental goals in mind, the VGPS sponsored The Gift of Thrift, a campus-wide thrift store in the Campus Center lobby on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008. From 4:30–7 p.m., students were encouraged to browse through friends’ clothes and other reusables in order to break the traditional cycle of expenditure. There was also live music, poetry readings and a bake sale to add entertainment value and try to expand the fundraising ability.

The idea was born at a VGPS meeting in early October. The officers brainstormed about events that could help raise funds for sustainability projects on campus as well as raise public awareness about the four Rs of environmentalism: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rebuy. Ben Oliver, director of VGPS, proposed the idea of holding a thrift store where clothes could be donated by students and resold inexpensively.

“We thought the event could help students actively follow the principles of reusing while maybe coming out of it with some ‘new’ items of their own. Most of all, we wanted a unique and fun event. To the best of our knowledge, nothing of this sort has been done at Andrews before,” said Oliver.
The VGPS team took the idea and ran with it. As plans fell into place and donation boxes piled up with clothes, posters and announcements were given to inform students about the thrift store.
The event helped to raise club awareness of VGPS, while also showing students how easy reusing and recycling can be.
“Events such as this one are important because they help develop recycling habits that are going to serve us later on as a country. If students can develop the habit now, they’re going to recycle for the rest of their lives,” said Jeffery Habenicht, VGPS treasurer.
By closing time, The Gift of Thrift had brought in nearly $350. The money was given to the Andrews University Sustainability Fund under the direction of VGPS to fund a new recycling program in the dormitories. VGPS has also been working with Berrien County officials to try and raise money for the program. Clothes and leftover items were donated to local charity and community service foundations.
Future VGPS events include celebrating Earth Week (April 22 is Earth Day) on campus through a variety of educational and participatory activities. Besides hosting several other co-curricular educational programs and vespers to inform students of their roles as Christian stewards, the VGPS hopes to continue hosting fun, innovative activities that will get people excited about caring for God’s creation.

-Written by Ashleigh Jardine, student news writer, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication

Andrews University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher education
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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104