Third annual Student Swap promotes reuse and school community at SDSS

At 2:10 p.m. on May 22, Stratford District Secondary School (SDSS) students lined the walls of their cafeteria, listening as school trustee Nathan Bean thanked them for their patience.

In the centre of the large hall were folding tables filled with clothing, shoes, books and “odds and ends,” all generously donated by the student body – and all was up for grabs in the third annual Student Swap.

“You might not realize it,” Bean told the large crowd, “but this event is so much more than getting some awesome free stuff. This event demonstrates the generosity of your peers and it also reduces fast fashion and consumerism. “ … When I say go – so wait until I say go – everyone is welcome to peruse the items available and take what you want.”

Without a whistle or horn, Bean shouted, “Go,” over the microphone and the students pounced.

This year’s student swap might have been the busiest it's ever been, according to Bean. They gave out a little over 350 tickets, he estimated.

The student swap is an annual event organized by a committee of students at SDSS. Participating students donate an item to get a ticket to the event and a bag. From there, they can take as many items as they want.

This year, Bean said they have made an effort to diversify the selection with wallets, belts, accessories for home and even a separate rack for formal events, like prom.

“We do it mainly to reduce (consumerism),” Bean said. “Reducing consumerism is a big one, promoting reuse culture; this idea that thrifting is cool, it's something you can do.”

“And then also kindness and generosity within the community,” committee-member Elliana Morrison added, explaining SDSS is a small community itself, and these kinds of events help to foster that feeling of community.

After everyone who donated had a chance to go through the selection, doors opened for the whole school, allowing anyone attending SDSS to have a chance to come in and take items.

Any leftover items were donated to St. Paul’s Church this year.

“Year after year, I'm astonished at the generosity of the students,” said Kara Donnelly, a teacher at SDSS that assists the students organizing the event. “And the hard work of the group that puts this together; they say they're going to do something and they do it every time – their follow-through is incredible.”

Connor Luczka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Stratford Times