Written by Kjerstin Pugh
On Saturday, September 23rd, over 130 visitors came to Dwight Hall, most armed with a bag or two of clothing and household items they no longer needed. As they signed in with members of AmeriCorps Alums CT, they were greeted by eager members of the Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School’s National Honors Society (who were also DJing a selection of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits for the crowd). These students sorted donations and refreshed the neat piles of clothing that were organized throughout Dwight Hall. From there, visitors were able to explore the new offices, pore over others’ donations, lounge upstairs and enjoy refreshments, and ultimately, take as many clothes or household items out that they could carry without spending a penny. As they eventually left, many people, their tote bags brimming asked, “so when is the next clothing swap?!”
Dwight Hall is a proud co-sponsor the seasonal “Don’t Shop: Swap!” event with AmeriCorps Alums of CT and Yale’s Hunger and Homeless Action Project (YHHAP). The event, founded by Kjerstin Pugh—both an AmeriCorps Alum and Dwight Hall Staff member— highlights sustainability practices by recycling used items and is economically conscious by allowing community members, AmeriCorps members and alums, and Yale students alike to “shop” for new clothes without spending any money. Pugh notes, “never underestimate people’s desire to both donate to the community and nab free things. This event is perfect because it combines the two while also adding a potluck and the opportunity for neighbors of all backgrounds to meet and interact with one another.” Furthermore, all clothes and items that are left at the end of the swap are bagged, labeled, and donated to local organizations. Following the September swap, YHHAP donated 27 bags and boxes to Loaves and Fishes in downtown New Haven, which runs a Clothing Closet which is open on Saturdays for men, women, and children.
Shannon Mykins, the Communications Director for AmeriCorps Alums CT reflects, “we are so excited to be working with Dwight Hall at Yale on these clothing swaps. Not only does this give us an opportunity to give back and connect AmeriCorps program alumni and current members with the Yale community, it also helps to spread the word about national service to the amazing students who are part of the Dwight Hall networks. We are so impressed and grateful for the volunteers from YHHAP and Co-Op NHS— we couldn’t do these kinds of events without them!”
The next Swap, Don’t Shop event will take place at Dwight Hall on Saturday, December 2nd from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. All are invited to clean out their closets, join us at Dwight Hall, and warm up with tasty refreshments and good company.