Clothing Swaps: Feminism in a Sustainable World

Feminism and sustainability intersected last weekend when the Womxn’s Empowerment Initiative collaborated with the Office of Sustainability and hosted a clothing swap. The aim was to encourage students to swap clothes or make donations to the Domestic Violence Shelter in New London; Safe Futures. The event demonstrated how all social justice initiatives will be impacted by climate change.  

According to a United Nations report, women and non-binary people will face ‘higher risks and greater burdens’ during climate disasters. Yet, it is those people who can also play a critical role in instigating change to survive the changing climate. The clothing swap is indicative of this effort. Instead of generating waste by consuming goods, affinity groups on campus are actively attempting to change behavior on campus to benefit the environment. This effort is not only more sustainable but also serves as an equalizer. Co-President and Artistic Director of the Women's Empowerment, Kate Delehanty, commented on this mission: ‘Feminism looks at class distinctions and clothing swaps are an easy way to include everyone. Donations are suggested and that includes donations of clothes. The basics of feminism and sustainability are the same.’ 

This global perspective is a positive result of a generation raised during the climate crisis. Clothing swaps are just one example, as to how people are moving away from individualistic consumerism and are thinking of the collective. Going forward the Women's Empowerment Initiative hopes to create a leadership position just for sustainability, and plans to continue its partnership with the Office of Sustainability.  


The Clothing Swap concluded on Saturday with students boisterously packing up extra clothes and putting them in storage, eagerly awaiting the next swap; and for the next opportunity to fuse, feminism, sustainability into a fashionable and equal event.