The Students for Environmental Action (SEA) Thrift Store was started in fall 2019 in an attempt to make students more aware of the environmental footprint that the fashion industry has left on the world. As the second-largest polluter in the world, the fashion industry has a large environmental footprint, created from an excess of water consumption, pollution caused by dyes, greenhouse gas emissions and many more, according to a non-profit organization, Sustain Your Style. Furthermore, fast fashion—inexpensive clothing produced by mass-market retailers to keep up with fashion trends—encourages wearers to discard items after a single-use. Because of this, millions of tons of clothing are sent to landfills each year.
The SEA Thrift Store was originally an idea created by the SEA’s president, Sophie Edelman ’21. Eventually, the thrift store turned into a club initiative through the work of Linzy Rosen ’22, Jeremy Goodsnyder ’21 and Eleanor Kelman ’20. Rosen, the treasurer of the SEA, believes that “our clothing, while necessary, carries the burden of environmental degradation,” she wrote in an email to The Brandeis Hoot. At the store, students are able to drop off their clothes and pick up clothes from other students for free, without the waste that is normally created. In addition, students can obtain clothes in a gender-neutral space, as it is marked by size and not by gender, according to a SEA Facebook post. In order to accumulate attention for this store, SEA conducted a thrift clothes photoshoot and a fashion show with The Student Committee for the Rose Art Museum (SCRAM) and the Brandeis Photography Club. According to Rosen, SCRAM has been extremely helpful in creating the Thrift Store Initiative.
Located on the second floor of Kutz Hall in the Kutz Food Pantry, the store offers jeans, skirts, shirts, sweaters, bras and shoes as well as towels, blankets and fitted sheets. All items present in the store, including the hangers, were donated by Brandeis community members, whether that be from students, staff or faculty. All are welcome to stop by the SEA Thrift Store any time during regular business hours when Kutz Hall is open.
“Our goal is to serve student needs while not compromising the environment,” Rosen wrote to The Hoot. “Having a permanent store enables students to pick up what they need in a fun, new way without leaving campus.” She also wrote almost all of the donated winter coats were picked up quickly after the store was created last semester, highlighting the importance of supporting students at Brandeis who are unable to afford warm clothing during the winter.
In the future, the creators will be publicizing about “exciting items” so that students will be more enthusiastic about coming to the store. The creators also hope that students provide them with feedback about the store so that they can grow, become more successful and reach more students. The creators of the SEA Thrift Store have established partnerships with the Office of Sustainability and other student environmental organizations in order to create more publicity for this store, and will continue to spread awareness at the involvement fairs, through social media campaigns and events held by SEA.
SEA is a chartered environmental action advocacy group on-campus founded on “the idea that every Brandeis student wants to do their part to help the environment but needs an accessible path to achieve that,” according to the club’s Presence page. Committed to encourage students to take little steps to make their lives more sustainable, the club is made up of groups to work on different initiatives both on and off-campus, per an earlier Hoot article. The club also educates the community to ensure all students have the opportunity to—and know how to—be more sustainable. The club meets weekly on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in the Shapiro Campus Center, room 333.