Help a student in need: Donate clothing to UP’s next Thrift Store Day

Posted on March 29, 2023

Donations are now open for the University of Pretoria’s (UP) next Thrift Store Day, set to take place at the Piazza on the Hatfield Campus on Tuesday 25 April 2023 from 10am to 2pm.

The Thrift Store Day initiative was launched in 2022 as a way of easing the financial burden on students with regards to buying clothing, and as a way of promoting a culture of recycling, reusing, and passing on clothing that is no longer being worn.

During two day-long Thrift Store Days held at UP’s Hatfield Campus last year, students were given the chance to select second-hand clothing from the donations received – without having to pay. Thanks to the donations from students and staff, more than 3 750 pieces of second-hand clothing were distributed to students.

Thanks to the donations from students and staff, more than 3 750 pieces of second-hand clothing were distributed to students during two day-long Thrift Store Days held at UP’s Hatfield Campus last year.

The Thrift Store Day initiative was launched as a partnership between FLY@UP, the University unit that supports students’ academic success, and UP’s Department of Student Affairs, which focuses on student well-being in terms of food security, housing, and other personal needs.

“The beauty of the initiative is that all donations were received from UP’s own students and staff, rather than from outside funders,” said Ms Tayla Jonker, coordinator of FLY@UP.

The stores were staffed by Jonker and her team of nine FLY@UP ambassadors. Students were each given seven minutes to browse the clothing on display, and they could select up to five items.

The idea for the Thrift Store Days came about through a knowledge exchange partnership between UP and the African Alliance Partnership (AAP) via Michigan State University (MSU) in the USA.

“During our recent visit to MSU, made possible through the AAP, we met with a group of advisors there,” Jonker said. “They pitched the idea for a warm winter coat drive during which warm clothing could be collected and distributed. We expanded the concept to include clothing in general.”

During the first two Thrift Store Days, more than 23% of students who completed an anonymous feedback form indicated they did not have winter clothing. “We learnt valuable lessons, and will implement these in the next round,” Jonker said. She thanked the UP community for its ongoing support, and asked staff and students to continue to support the cause in 2023 and beyond. “The idea is to roll the Thrift Store Days out to other UP campuses too.” 

She added that although this semester’s drive focuses on winter clothing, she encourages staff and students to donate any clothing they no longer use.

Jonker said the initiative taps into the increasingly popular thrift store culture, which has been fuelled by the growing awareness that wearing vintage or pre-loved clothing is easier on the budget – and better for the environment.

Three permanent donation boxes are in use on the Hatfield Campus, to allow people to continuously drop off items of clothing. One is situated at the Department of Student Affairs, another at the Administration Building, and the third on the third floor of the Information Technology Building. 

Ahead of the upcoming Thrift Store Day, collection boxes will also be available at the pedestrian gates that provide access to the Hatfield Campus. These will be collected daily and sorted by Jonker and her team.

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