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Students save green, go green at Lost & Found Auction/Thrift Shop

By Michael Yu and Nicolas Hernandez, Apr. 26, 2022

ASI, in collaboration with the Games Room, held an outdoor thrift shop and auction for students in the University Park on April 21, breathing new life into hundreds of worn items in the campus’ lost and found inventories, as part of its Earth Week series of events.

Clothes and smaller accessories were available to purchase prior to the fast-paced auction, which featured higher-priced items. Funds from the cash-only event were allocated to ASI’s Basic Needs Scholarships.

“The funds from this event will go back to ASI,” said Jennifer Flores, the ASI coordinator for the event and political science student. “It goes back to the students and lets us plan future events.”

The event was split between a thrift store that offered clothes and other items for as low as $1, and an auction where students could bid against each other for over 70 more expensive items. The competition at the auction was fierce, with highly contested products like AirPods going well above their starting price of $20.

One of the biggest winners from the auction was Justin Nguyen, a computer engineering student, who won various items including AirPods, pants and a yoga mat.

“It felt nice,” shared Nguyen. “I have been looking for these items, like wireless earbuds for the summer, for a while now, and it was nice to find them here at a good price and working.”

Michael Yu | The Poly Post

The lost-and-found thrift shop was a mainstay of ASI’s events prior to the campus’ shift to remote instruction. In fall 2020, the event made a comeback and raised around $900, according to Monica Martinez, a student activities assistant for ASI BEAT and communication student.

With the fashion industry contributing to 10% of humankind’s carbon emissions and overflowing landfills, ASI felt that it was important to host this event during Earth Week to promote more ethical alternatives to conventional fashion.

“We really wanted to make sure the sustainability of thrifting was involved,” said Flores. “That’s why ASI BEAT collaborated with the Games Room to bring CPP this event to resell the stuff that’s old instead of tossing it out.”

The event offered numerous items, from old graphic T-shirts to electronic items such as an LG Stylo cell phone. This large variety of items at affordable prices served as a treasure trove for students either with a passion for thrifting or on the look for more affordable options.

“I love thrifting; I can spend hours doing it,” said Emily Pineda, an animal science student. “I like the sustainability and I’m not too into fast fashion. I prefer quality clothes that I can wear for a while rather than clothes I would throw out quickly.”

Martinez, who co-hosted the auction with Tiff Mojica, the ASI Student Experience assistant coordinator, echoed the positive effects that thrifting has on sustainability efforts.

“I tell people, ‘You don’t understand how much thrifting can help the environment,'” said Martinez. “Instead of clothes being trashed, it’s getting recycled and reused and it’s just doing better for the planet in general.”

The event attracted large crowds of students, a turnout that would not have been possible when the pandemic was at its peak. With the campus being repopulated, there are more opportunities to host these in-person events.

Flores shared that the transition back to in-person events also came with its own hardships, such as planning events that are fun for the campus and still adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

As the campus community is gradually becoming more comfortable with in-person events, the enthusiasm for them is also returning.

“I love it (being back in-person). This is my favorite part of the job and why I did BEAT in the first place,” said Martinez.  “I love hosting events, talking to students about events, how they are feeling about it. I love the feedback that lets us know what to do better and what we are doing well in. This is the highlight of BEAT in general.”

To learn about more ASI events, the campus community can visit myBar.

Featured image by Michael Yu

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