As part of an ongoing partnership with the Rescue Mission of Trenton, students from TCNJ’s Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement transformed the first floor of the Brower Student Center into something completely different one day last semester: a thrift store.
The “pop-up shop” sold donated items, including clothing, books, records, and DVDs, to the campus community. The Bonner students donated the proceeds, which totaled $570 that day, to the Rescue Mission.
The pop-up shop idea was part of a larger social entrepreneurship project aimed at reducing waste and promoting sustainability by selling thrift items to a niche market. According to the U.S. EPA’s Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person, each year. Currently, only 15 percent of discarded clothing is collected.
According to Bonner Community Scholar Tiffany Teng ’13, the success of last fall’s pop-up shop has the Bonner team working toward another outing this semester, and also thinking about establishing a permanent thrift shop on campus.