Way to go everyone we did it!!!
Reflection Essay Swag Swap
1. What is the action
For this action, students donate clothes, and it is recorded through the distribution of vouchers. On the final day of the event, they bring in their vouchers and redeem them for any of the clothes they want. Obviously the clothes goes on a first come, first served basis. Any remaining clothes will be donated to charity.
1.1. Why this action makes things more sustainable?
For our implentation design our group chose to do a clothing drive. We decided to change the name to "Swag Swap" to attract more attention and bring in a fun undertone to the project. We all felt passionate abou this project because we see the need for recycling/resuing/upcycling in the IES community. Our group is well aware of cyclical fashon trends and the 500 billion dollar fashion industry to which much of the developed world contributes. Everyone loves to have new things, it's exciting. So we figured why not create that same feeling without the waste? It also saves individuals tons of money, as shopping at stores like Zara isn't necessarily cheap. Specifically, study abroad students, are all tight on money. Being able to trade something old for something new is attractive.
1.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design
The Swag Swap doesn't contribute to any positive feedback loops. This is not a part of a cycle but rather a one time event. However, many of the students enjoyed the swap and would enjoy doing more in the future. This event does promote a more sustainble and eco effecient lifestyle, but doesn't directly contribute to existing feedback loops. We hope that students will continue to participate in these upon returning to their home schools. Clothing Swaps and thrifting do make a difference in the level of fabric waste, and this event definitely promoted how they can be fun, and useful. The event produces no waste, aside from donut boxes, and the surplus clothes is donated to a charity. This design is not cradle to cradle but rather eliminates the waste of one part of a system of production and recycles it.
1.3. Similar actions from previous semesters
The clothing swap was designed by other students but never implemented, we paved the way with our new and innovative project.
Distribute the following propaganda to the IES Student Body.
(real life swag token artifact)
Monday oct 14- 17: Collecting swag, distributing SWAG TOKES (swag tokens) to helplessly fashioned individuals. Encouraging people to bring more clothes, and participate in this awesome event. Raising awareness on the benefits of second hand clothing. Advertising snacks for people who donate.
Thurday 18th October: Shopping Day, everyone with SWAG TOKES gets to exchange them for one article of clothing on a first come first serve basis. All uncollected clothing will be donated to HUMANA
2.1. The action
We saw the Swag Swap as a way to provide a unique opportunity to buld a community among IES staff and students. Our main priority is to spread word throught the IES community so that people would know about the event, and then interested parties could participate. Joe used his design skills to create awesome posters to promote the event. Kurt comminicated with the IES staff so that we would have permission to forward it to all the students. The emails also effectively communicated the day and time, as well as the rules and regulations surrounding the event. We also used word of mouth to spread and make sure that our personal circles heard about the event extensively. Another tactic we used to promote participatation was offering Dunkin Donuts (Dunkin Coffee) for free to students who donated. This was a small incentive, but it defiently helped turnout.
In spite of our huge sucess we did have some issues with the event. For example, the enviornment here is not conducive to participating in a clothing swap. The students here had a limited space to bring clothes, and because of that many of students simply didn't have clothes that they would be willing to swap for. The clothing that most people had were essential items and couldn't afford to trade the. It would require a lot of confindence in the Swag Swap to put a valuable piece of clothes in, and potentially recieve a must worse item of clothing. With a limited amount to clothes, getting people to participate was a challenge.
Another challenge with the execution of the swag swap was the distribution of genders for people who participated. The number of female participants was vastly greater than the number of male participants. This means that when it came time to recieve the items, the female students had a much wider selection of clothing options than the males. When Kurt tried to participate only 3 other males had donated, so he did not have a lot to pick from.
The other way we could have improved the event was by more actively promoting the event to the faculty. While Kurt was watching the exchange on Thursday, he was approached by several teachers. None of them had any idea that the swag swap was happening and really wanted to participate. He ended up making and exception because he didn't recieve any items so that they could particiapte. This could have been avoided if we ad actively reached out to various professors and asked them to participate as well.
Herein lies another problem with the Swag Swap. With smaller participation rates, students are not garuanteed to get something back of the same quality. Someone could in theory give a dirty and damaged T shirt and recieve a much nicer pair of pants.
2.3. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?
When we are not here it will be difficult to keep the swag swap opperating. However, partnering with faculty members who could sponsor the even every semester would be an awesome way the make the event a part of the culture here at IES.
3. Document format
No sources were used, other than our own resources and ingenuity.
5. Other References
Thank you so much to IES for enabling us to use their technological infrastructure to reach out to all of the students
6.2. Students involved in this action
Joe Brand, Kurt Nugent, Mallory Grimm, Annie, Snoop Dogg