First Free Pop Up Shop To Become Annual Event

First Free Pop Up Shop To Become Annual Event

Almost 2,000 pieces of clothing found new homes (instead of the landfill).

Once the donation boxes started overflowing, the biggest concern of the Students for Climate Action who organized the Free Pop Up Shop was: What if nobody comes? But they did come. Roughly 200 people came to Washington-Liberty High’s cafeteria to “shop” for free gently used clothing in the first Pop Up Shop or Clothing Swap run by students, with the help of EcoAction Arlington and the Faith Alliance for Climate Action, NAACP, and Sierra Club volunteers. Most said they hoped the group would do another free clothing swap next year. 

How do you measure the success of a Free Pop Up Shop upcycling used clothing? Easy. First of all, the community came together to do something positive for the environment and people. Clothes were donated, 45 students and adults volunteered. Second, about 1800 articles of clothing were upcycled, either to new wearers or for charitable donation. Third, 13 students signed up to be climate activists, and many visitors had ideas on how we could better manage the environment. About 200 people walked away with free clothing, some who were students opting out of fast fashion, and many who were immigrants happy to find affordable clothing. Fourth, students got to showcase their organizational skills, short film skills, PowerPoint skills, and salesmanship, without which this event would not have been such a success. Students who participated expressed real concern over the lack of progress being made towards zero waste, and as the post-it notes indicate, some major anxiety over the future of their environment. 

Some of the post-it notes that were left at the desk, where people were invited to join in climate action clubs and comment on what they thought people could do and what concerns they have about climate change:

(I want to) Contribute to waste-saving and being eco-friendly; Don’t be afraid to embrace change! Get an electric car; Go electric; Solar energy! Fix climate change for better snow days; Buy Franklin scooter; Go zero waste! Bike; I am concerned about the impacts on lower income communities and the loss of habitats; Flooding; I believe that gas emissions are the largest cause of climate change, and we aren’t doing enough to fix this; Poor baby polar bears; I’m concerned about the loss of tree canopy in Arlington; Microplastics. How bad can we get without any change? The destruction of animal habitats;  Sea levels rising; Ice caps melting; Arctic melting and rising sea levels; Microplastics; Rising water