On a crisp fall day, the Bell Tower area of Temple’s campus has been transformed into a huge outdoor market. “A pair of jeans is $2. Almost every shirt is a dollar,” said Kathleen Grady of the Office of Sustainability.
This is a Pop-Up Thrift store, coordinated by students with the Office of Sustainability. Connor Caruso is one of the student volunteers. “All of these items came from the residence halls as part of their move-out day,” he said. All told, it was about 5,000 pounds worth of stuff. Students buy tickets for a dollar each, then spend them on everything from bargain boots to belts to sneakers.
“It’s cheap, affordable, and it’s helpful,” Temple student Doriane Pameni said. “Like, you have what we need.”
“I think it’s a pretty noble pursuit,” Temple junior Adrian Corbey said. “These would have otherwise been trash.”
“The thrift sales are our most popular event on campus,” Connor said. So the team decided to give the proceeds to the Cherry Pantry, a campus food bank that opened in February. Dr. Michelle Martin helps run it. “It’s hard to study if you don’t have food and you’re hungry all the time,” Michelle said. The pantry is a place where students struggling with food insecurity can pick up healthy non-perishable foods. This semester, the pop-up thrift events raised more than $5,700. “The money will allow us to purchase probably two or three month’s worth of food,” Michelle said. “It’s a huge benefit for the pantry and our university students.”
“Any way we can reduce waste on campus while helping other students is really, you know, a win-win scenario,” Connor said.