Thrift and Flop, the most recent recipient of the "Outstanding New Student Organization'' Student Activities Award, is run by communication studies juniors Miyalani Wagner and Allison Altobelli. The club has maintained its membership even during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now its initiatives and programming are being strengthened by its collaborative work with Temple University's Office of Sustainability. Labeled as #EcoChampions by the office, Thrift and Flop is making a difference in the lives of its fashionable members, its campus and its community.
Thrift and Flop educates its members about sustainable fashion and shopping and provides workshops on reworking clothing. The club received a 2019-2020 Green Grant from the Office of Sustainability, awarded to help the club fund its many upcycling events. With assistance from the Office of Sustainability, Thrift and Flop's ideas for club growth and participation were easier to bring into fruition.
"They are really easy to collaborate with and they are just so excited and so energetic about anything sustainable. And the fact that we were bringing fashion into the mix and like a fresh new idea, they just were all for it. They made the process so much easier, it was awesome," Altobelli says.
Thrift and Flop's innovative approach made it a perfect fit for Stories of Sustainability, organized by the Office of Sustainability. Those who are selected for the speaker series are Temple-affiliated sustainability experts who are "creating community through sustainability," says Shay Marie Strawser, a junior marketing major at Fox School of Business and the events and program assistant for the Office of Sustainability.
As a part of Temple's Campus Sustainability Month in October, The Office of Sustainability dedicated a week to highlighting sustainable fashion efforts, and called on Thrift and Flop to discuss sustainable fashion initiatives. Wagner and Altobelli hosted a Stories of Sustainability Zoom conversation on October 14 between students, faculty and staff to discuss how to become more waste-conscious in fashion. The collaboration between the office and the club marked a new way to develop ideas about sustainability within the Temple community.
"We were able to host a workshop and we had their members; some students and staff joined us as well. They just told us pretty much all about what they do at Thrift and Flop and highlighted a lot of pieces that their members have done and pretty much how they operate as a club," Strawser says.
As #EcoChampions, Thrift and Flop plans on expanding its already impressive media efforts, which will be especially effective due to Wagner and Altobelli's training in communication. The two founders are brainstorming ways that they can further connect with potential and existing members, including continuing the club's success on social media, hosting and promoting sustainable fashion community service events post-pandemic and possibly launching a podcast.
"[A podcast] would be cool with small businesses or sustainable advocates," Wagner says. "I think that'd be a really cool, niche market that people would enjoy listening to because I know of a couple of eco-chic podcasters that are really popular and really interesting to listen to. So I figured that'd be a really different avenue that we could go about it."
You can learn more about Thrift and Flop's efforts via its Instagram page.