Object Swap (Hannah, Tess, Ale)

1.1. What

The purpose of this Action Report is to provide more information on the IES Clothing Swap Action. Clothing Swaps can both serve as a means of strengthening relationships within a community, as well as satisfying many people’s desires for an updated wardrobe without needing to put their money into an unsustainable economy. After contacting the director of IES Barcelona, he gave his permission for an IES classroom to be utilized for the clothing swap. Flyers advertising the clothing swap will be hung around the IES building to raise awareness among the students to encourage their participation. By taking part in the clothing swap, students will be engaging in a positive and productive activity together that will make the IES community more self-sufficient and will lessen students' dependence on the unsustainable economy.

1.1.1. Similar Actions from previous semesters

In the past, many students have planned Actions that require participation from IES students. Many such Actions involved IES students donating their cell phones, converters, or other electronic devices to IES for the purpose of giving future IES students the opportunity to use them, rather than buying these devices themselves. One such Action was the "Electronics Recycling Program" from Spring 2011. Although the Action was not ultimately carried out, its intention was quite similar to that of the "Clothing Swap." As discussed in class, the current state of society encourages people to constantly be purchasing new things, which leads to massive amount of wastefullness. This unsustainable cycle can be remedied by people taking the opportunity to participate in Actions such as the "Clothing Swap" or the "Electronics Recycling Program."

1.1.2. SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS: participated in numerous clothing swaps in the past, clothing will be current/stylish, wide variety of options, no money involved, new to IES Barcelona, a new twist on the Electronic Device donations of the past, IES is a central location for all students, will be held during the day between classesWEAKNESSES: students may be reluctant to donate clothing, publicity may not be reliable or widespread enough, students may still prefer new clothes from stores, students may not be able to find time for such an activityOPPORTUNITIES: serves as an example of sustainable shopping within a community, students may reuse the idea in their home schools or communities, friends within IES could be strengthened by the common goal, if it became an annual event IES could advertise it to incoming studentsTHREATS: students may feel that they donated better clothing than they ultimately received, students would spend less on clothing at stores therefore the Spanish economy may have a little less income, could be competitive between students who have trouble finding clothing they want

1.1.3. Feedback Loops

A balancing loop exists in that IES Abroad Barcelona currently does not have a means of encouraging students to increase sustainability with regard to their clothing purchases, and this Action would increase awareness therefore leading to the creation of such an initiative. A reinforcing loop could occur if a large number of students participate in the Clothing Swap, and there is a significant decrease in the amount of retail shopping by IES Abroad students.

1.1.4. Advertising

This action will be advertised using flyers that will be hung on the bulletin boards of IES Barcelona. In addition to the flyers, word-of-mouth will be relied upon heavily, because when students are told about this Action by their friends who are participating, they will also be more likely to do so. An e-mail could also be sent out to advertise the Action, however, many students delete e-mails before they read them if they see that the subject is not of immediate importance to him or her. The flyer will be made to be eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing, so that passersby are more likely to stop and read the flyer, thereby increasing the likelihood of their participation in the Clothing Swap itself.

1.2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

A Clothing Swap will increase the sustainability of the students within IES Abroad Barcelona because, if it satiates students' desires for clothing that is new to them enough to dissuade them from purchasing new clothing, it would reduce the students' dependency on the retail market. Students who participate will also gain a new perspective on the value of reusing and trading possessions, in this case clothing, rather than only buying new things and discarding their old ones, which may be desired by someone else. This is a necessary change in attitude that would greatly benefit this generation of people. If a Clothing Swap becomes a popular enough event, IES Abroad Barcelona could host a Clothing Swap once every semester, therefore educating many more students still than just this one Swap.

1.2.1. Potential Benefits

The main benefit of the Clothing Swap will be in its ability to change people's attitudes about consumerism vs. trading amongst the people within a community. In the short-term, the Clothing Swap will strengthen the existing relationships of participants, as well as help participants to form new friendships because of its community-oriented nature.

1.2.2. Potential Costs

The Clothing Swap will take some time on the part of the participants when it comes to choosing what clothing they will donate, as well as the time allotted for the Swap itself. Students will need to come to the Swap with a positive attitude and an open mind, because there are no guarantees as to what type of clothing will be present, or if the costs of the donated clothing will be at all similar to the costs of the clothing that any other student donated.

1.3. How

- benefits and costs were weighed to consider the effectiveness of a Clothing Swap
- brainstorming ideas for advertisement
- reflected on strengths and weaknesses of past Clothing Swaps to figure out the best way to carry out a Swap in IES Barcelona
- e-mail was sent to Cesar Alegre to inquire about the possibility of using an IES classroom for the Clothing Swap
- a flyer was created to advertise the Clothing Swap
- date/room must be chosen for which to hold the Clothing Swap

1.3.1. "Cradle to Cradle" design

Because this is a trading process, there is a possibility that some participants may donate more clothing than they take from the Clothing Swap. If this occurs, there would be extra clothing that had not been claimed by any participant. This clothing, however would not go to waste. Instead, it would be donated to one of the many Humana stores in Barcelona. At these stores, they sell second-hand clothing at a very low price, which increases sustainability of Barcelona itself because it does not require new clothing to be made (which creates waste products in itself), but rather re-sells existing clothing. Humana itself does not make a profit, but they actually use the money from the clothing that is sold to help communities of people in Spain and other places that are lacking the basic necessities of living.

1.3.2. Questions for the unified survey

-Do you feel that a clothing swap would serve as a good alternative or even a deterrent to purchasing new clothing here in Barcelona?
-Would you be willing to participate in a clothing swap with other IES students?

1.3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey

The results of the survey are not very reliable because there were so few participants, however the few students that completed it confirmed the concerns for the success of the Clothing Swap. It seems that students are ambivalent about participating for a few reasons. It seems that, had the students known about the Swap before coming to Barcelona, they would have been more likely to participate because they would have been able to bring clothing that they would not mind donating. Also, the results of the survey seem to point out that the students would not necessarily be deterred from purchasing clothing from retail stores even if they did participate in the Clothing Swap, however, it must be reiterated that there were very few participants in the survey.

1.3.4. Incentives

The incentives for participating in the Clothing Swap are mostly the results of the Swap itself. The results being the opportunity to trade in clothes that are not being worn for whatever reason for clothes that are new to you. This is the main appeal of a Clothing Swap, especially for people who do not like to wear the same clothes very often, and who also do not have the financial means to constantly be purchasing new clothing. Another important incentive for participation in the Clothing Swap is that it will serve as an example for how enjoyable and profitable it can be to trade clothing and other possessions within a community, rather than constantly consuming goods from outside the community, therefore spreading valuable resources outside the community.

1.3.5. Relationship with the "Sustainability Club" (SC)

This Action will be carried out solely by IES students, as well as the participants will also be IES students. In this way it is inextricably linked with the Sustainability Club. Also, no money from outside organizations is required, as the Action itself will not cost any money to carry out.

1.3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

The Clothing Swap is an Action that can easily become a once-per-semester event at IES Abroad Barcelona. If there is a group of students willing to put it together each semester, they would be able to use the flyer that has been created for this Swap as a template, as well as the rest of this Action Report. Also, the students that are orchestrating this Clothing Swap are easily reachable through e-mail, if the future IES students who are implementing a Clothing Swap need help or advice.

1.3.7. Who will do what

Each student participating in this Action will assume some responsibility to increase its chances for success. Each student will be present during the actual Clothing Swap, as well as hanging the flyers around IES Abroad Barcelona to advertise. Also, each of us will participate in the Swap and encourage others to do so as well until the event itself.

1.3.8. Comparison to similar actions from previous semesters

The main difference between this action and that of previous semesters is that within the Clothing Swap, items are being donated and traded amongst current IES students. The other Actions involving donations of personal belongings are mostly being donated for future IES students who will be in Barcelona in the coming semesters. This makes the Clothing Swap immediately effective, as opposed to waiting for new students to either take the donated objects or not. Also, the trading aspect of the Clothing Swap is also unique, because many other Actions involving donations do not also involve getting something in return for what they had donated.

1.3.9. Document format

clothing swap flyer.docx

A Creative Commons copyright will be used for this report. A Creative Commons copyright seems most appropriate because it will allow others permission to expand upon this report, make improvements, and allow them to tailor it to fit their situation. This will increase the sustainability of the report itself because it will be more long-term and it will be available to the public for use.

1.4. Time Sheet/Chronogram

Hannah: responsible for word-of-mouth as well as flyer advertising, ensure that project is finished in time for the Spring semester students to be able to use it
Ale: change project in productive ways before its deadline, also participate in advertising for the current AND next semester, write a persuasive caption to encourage students in the coming semester to continue this Action

http://www.humana-spain.org/ <website for Humana, provides information on donations and their actions

Rodriguez, Monica, and Isabella Walker. "Electronics Recycling Program." Sustainability: Challenges
and Responses. Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. <http://sustainability.seeds4c.org>.

1.6. Annexes

Hannah Ilene Weiss hannah.weiss at fandm.edu
Nov 16 (2 days ago)
Dear Mr. Alegre,
Hello! I am currently enrolled in the Sustainability class at IES, for which the final project is to plan an "action" that will make IES Barcelona more sustainable in some way. For my project, I am planning a Clothing Swap, in which students who choose to participate will donate as many articles of clothing as they please, and they will then have the option of choosing that many articles of clothing from the accumulation of donated clothing. I am writing to ask you if it is a possibility for me to utilize just one IES classroom during the free hours on a Tuesday for the Swap, as I think more people will participate if it is in the middle of the day. I would only need to rearrange the desks to be in the center of the room where the clothing would be displayed. Thank you for your time!

Margherita Mangini mmangini at iesbarcelona.org
Nov 16 (2 days ago)
Dear Hannah,

I find your initiative a very good one and anyway you can have a classroom on any tuesday. Just keep in mind that you should inform all the students at least one week in advance.
To decide a date and a classroom, why don't you come to see me at the front desk any day next week?

Best Wishes,
Margherita Mangini
Center Administrator
IES Abroad (Institute for the International Education of Students)

1.7. Students involved with this action

Hannah, Ale, Tess

Page last modified on Tuesday 11 of December, 2012 22:56:13