The students at Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College in Victoria didn’t have to go far to find a bargain during their lunch break yesterday.
They had a great time hosting an Exchange For Change clothing swap at their school …and the best part? Refreshing their wardrobes barely cost them a thing, helped raise awareness about ethical fashion choices and helped raise funds for Oxfam Australia. Win!
Year 12 student Rachel Ch’ng was the organisational brains behind the event, and she gives us a round up of all the fun she had and the challenges she faced hosting her school’s first Exchange For Change.
Sounds like it was a lot of hard work, but worth it in the end. Nice job, Rachel & co!
A week before the event, I allocated a couple of girls to be in charge of accepting clothing donations in the school foyer. On the first day of accepting of donations, no donations came in, my helper and I realised that the posters, announcements, bulletins and newsletter advertisements were not effective, and so we got to work by getting a couple of donated coats that Ms Vilinksy had brought in, and went around the school telling everyone about the clothes swap that was happening the next Wednesday.
On day two, there were still no clothing donations from any of the students, and I started to get a bit worried and stressed. I had a talk to a couple of the Social Service Representatives and asked them whether we should cancel the event, move it back further, keep on going and hope for the best. We settled with the latter.
The hard working team of volunteers
On day three, which was a Wednesday, I held my “very-important-must-come” meeting for all the representatives that were involved in setting up the event. I sent two girls to take care of the accepting of donations, whilst I talked to the rest of my crew. Apparently, my email regarding the “very important meeting” was not read by many of the Social Service reps and so only a couple of girls turned up. The good part was that we got one donation from one of the reps that day, so hooray!
Day four wasn’t any better, but one donation did come in from one of the reps. I initially thought of stopping the accepting of donations by day four, but obviously, I had to extend it.
I then decided to use the social media (oh how great Facebook is!) to notify many of my Year 12 mates about it. It didn’t work overnight, but at least they were aware of Exchange for Change. Thankfully, one of the Year 11 Social Service reps had the initiative to pester all her friends about the event, and so we got quite a number of donations on day five. But we needed more, and so we extended the accepting-of-donations dates and rounded up some girls to take a couple of fabulous looking coats to tell every friendship group we encountered about the event.
Creating posters to spread the word
Over the weekend, I continuously reminded my friends to bring in their stuff in on Monday. A couple of them did, one of them even cleared three quarters of her wardrobe and brought in two large bags full of amazing and branded clothes (branded clothes – appeals to everyone).
By Tuesday afternoon, the day before the event, we got quite a large number of clothes/accessories/bags/shoes etc., which I then got a couple of my trustworthy friends to stay back after school to help me sort them all out into categories and appeal. It wasn’t until 5pm that we finished, and by then, we were feeling very pleased with ourselves. My friends also managed to find something that they liked and placed first dibs on them before anyone else could take them!
Before I knew it, the day itself came. And not surprisingly, I woke up thanking God that the day has come, and it would soon all be over and I can finally catch up with my studies and friends.
So, today (22nd May) was the day of Canterbury Girls’ Exchange for Change (aka: Clothes Swap) where a great deal of swapping, clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, squeals of delight and rummaging took place in Canterbury Girls’ drama space over lunchtime.
But before all that could take place, there was the setting up to do, so a couple of Social Service representatives came in during recess to set up the drama space with all the clothes on their racks, shoes under the racks, scarves and bags on tables and so on. One of my favourite parts of the day was when the girls who got there first did not wait for me to tell them to start, instead they just got everything out and got started right away. Another favourite of mine was the innovative way they thought of making a rack out of two large boards and a bamboo stick on top of them.
"Bags this dress!"
Yeap, that’s it in summary. There’s still heaps of clothes left over, so tomorrow, I’m going to leave the boxes of clothes and stuff in the middle of the drama space and the girls can rummage through all of it and buy things that they would like. It’ll be pretty crazy, but at least that will raise more money, and get rid of much of the stuff that is left over.
It’s been a crazy experience trying to do something new and different in the school and by someone who is inexperience at organising events (me). But well, we managed it. And dare I say, it went quite well.
Want to host your own Exchange For Change event? You’ll find everything you need in our DIY kit, plus heaps more info on our ethical fashion pages.