One man’s trash is another’s treasure


Students walk around the Hamilton room looking at clothes.

Felicity Knabenbauer, Lifestyle Editor

Thrifting is an addicting way to find the perfect style without breaking the bank. It can be daunting when a favorite pair of jeans rip and getting a new pair would cost a pretty penny. Before heading to the store to buy new, look to other options such as thrift stores. You won’t have to look far to find two thrift stores, owned and operated right here in Whitewater. The first is the Thrift Shoppe located on S Church street that is filled to the brim with items that include donated clothing. The second location is Reflections of the Past on Main street where inside you will find a variety of vintage clothing. Garage sales are another easy way for one man’s trash to become another man’s treasure. Finally, there are special events such as University of Wisconsin Whitewater’s student government hosting a clothes swap!


A table filled to the brim with long sleeved shirts.

The UW-W student government partnered with the Sustainability office here on campus to host a Clothes Swap Monday, April 18 in the University Center’s Hamilton room to help encourage students to donate old clothing items and in return find something new for themselves! There were a variety of sizes and styles on numerous tables throughout the room. Much of the clothing was donated by The Community Space who provides the Whitewater community with clothes, food, furniture and more through donations. All the leftover clothing from the clothes swap event would be donated back to The Community Space to then be distributed to those who need it. Donations of clothing also came from the Warhawk Success Closet; a University initiative to provide students access to free professional and business appropriate attire.


“We decided to do this because it is a very sustainable way to get new clothing and also a great way to spread the word about the Sustainability office through an event such as this. It is also earth month so that’s really exciting. We have a total of eight events this month. This is our third of five events,” said engagement intern with the Sustainability office Caroline French.

Considering the average American throws away approximately 81 pounds of clothing each year, it is important to remind students of their impact on the environment as well as ways they can do their part to help be sustainable with what they currently have. 

“I think we all need to upcycle more in this world. The more you buy the more products that need to go into manufacturing which just eventually leads to a lot of waste. Instead of throwing away clothes you can upcycle it or recycle it in a way so that more people can give it a new life. Thrifting is just so important in my opinion. I’ve worn the same jeans for years and I have no reason to throw them away. At least that’s always been my mentality towards the situation,” said environmental science major and clothes swap volunteer Chuck Leston.

Students survey the tables in the early hours of the Clothes Swap event.

This event was just the opportunity many students were looking for to get rid of one or dozens of old clothing items that were either going to be thrown away or kept shelved. Instead, these pieces found new life in the hands of other students and then eventually back out into the Whitewater community.

“Well, I had some clothes that didn’t quite fit me anymore and I figured I’d donate them.

I could then go and see if there was anything here that fit me so I could have some new things to wear. I have found a couple things already. It’s good to donate clothes so more people have options to wear different things. When you take old clothes, your like recycling in a way,” said freshman elementary education major Zachary Scheurich.

Although this clothes swap is now over, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this type of event yourself. While thrift stores are one option, another is simply planning out something with a group of people who would also love to swap out for something new.

“I think it is important to show people that it is possible to shop sustainably. You can do it. You can do a clothes swap with your friends. You could get a group of people together and do it with a sorority or with a frat. Going shopping is a great, fun acuity that everyone loves to do but it’s so much more sustainable to do stuff like this while also making sure you are supporting your community,” said French.

A student volunteer sits at the front desk waiting for UW-W students to begin filtering in.

It has been a crucial reminder since the 1970s but continues to ring out to this day that we have but one planet to cherish and take care of and we should do everything in our power to do so. Thrifting is a fun but also essential way to cut back on using so much of Earth’s natural resources. With so many green options it would be unfortunate not to take advantage of such a thrifting wonderland out there to be discovered.