Students swap clothes to celebrate Earth day

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Students swap clothes to celebrate Earth day

Valera Olivares, Reporter

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UTEP’s Green Team and Environmental Advocates hosted a clothing swap on Tuesday, April 16, at Leech Grove park alongside the Kambalache (exchange) Project to celebrate Earth Week.

Kambalache is a project that was created in Cd. Juárez, Mexico in order to provide a space for people to come together, bring different clothing items, exchange them for other pieces and promote consciousness about the importance of sustainability within the textile industry.

“The main purpose of Kambalache is for you to bring your pieces of clothing that maybe you don’t fit into anymore or you feel like they’re not your style anymore,” said Enrique Acosta, a staff member of Kambalache. “Instead of going to a store and purchasing new clothing, you’re just exchanging it for someone else’s.”

Students were able to learn about one of the many ways they can help the planet as they traded an old shirt for a pair of overalls.

“I really like the idea that they’re trying to implement to promote how unsustainable the textile industry is,” said Jessica Salcido, a biology student and member of both the Green Team and the Environmental Advocates. “It’s a good way to attract people to be more environmentally aware. It’s very interactive, and I like the mission behind it.”

There were certain restrictions, however, in order to maintain control over the items that were being exchanged by students.

If Kambalache’s staff determined that one or more of the student’s clothing pieces were not in the best quality, the student had the option of either taking back the clothing item or leaving it in the donation box to be distributed to shelters.

Because Kambalache is a project created in Cd. Juárez, its organizers had to cross the border in order to bring some pieces of clothing to initiate the swap. Hangers and poles were used to create the community closet in which the clothing hangs.

As they were crossing with these seemingly inoffensive items, however, Kambalache’s organizers were met with a challenge.

“We were having some issues in crossing the border,” Acosta said.

Customs and Border Patrol officers took away their hangers because these could be used as weapons since they were made of metal.

“We had to figure it out in the early morning (how) to get new hangers,” Acosta said.

While the turnout was not as big as the one they have experienced at bigger events in Cd. Juárez, students were still curious about what they were doing and the staff was able to explain what the project was about and the importance of renovating their closets in a sustainable manner.

UTEP hosted various other events and activities in order to celebrate Earth Week on campus and further promote awareness among the university’s student body.