Photo Series: The Campus Thread knits together the La Crosse community by offering a free clothing closet

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From left to right: Lindsey Strzyzewski, Jaden Stanelle, Georgia Werner-Hilgers. (Photo taken by Sara Hafften).

Sara Hafften, Photojournalist

Students attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse may already know of resources like the Campus Food Pantry that assist students in need, but a newer resource they may be unaware of is The Campus ThreadThe Campus Thread is run by college students and offers students, and members of the La Crosse community, a free clothing closet. 

The Campus Thread is celebrating one year of service to the La Crosse area. It is located right off the UWL campus near Angell Hall on 1334 Pine St., within the Common Ground Lutheran Campus Ministry building on the second floor. The Campus Thread is a free accessible resource for clothing that strives to be inclusive. It is based on a donation system through churches and individual donors.  

According to a member of Campus Climate and UWL senior, Sadie Szabelski, “[The Campus Thread] helps to battle the inequities within our system. It tries to build bridges within our system through giving and receiving.” 

When asked what she liked about how the organization operatesSzabelski said, “What we’re doing is trying to make it a simple process of you come in, you look, and you leave. We don’t identify anybody that’s in there. We just try to see how many items are leaving. I think that is important for folx to know. It’s meant for everyone to feel comfortable in that space. 

One aspect of the organization that may be helpful for many students is the selection of professional dress clothes. UWL sophomore and leader within The Campus Thread, Georgia Werner-Hilgers said, “For me, I don’t have any dress pants that I brought with me [to college]. It’s a great source if you have an interview coming up. If you don’t have the time or money to buy a nice, professional outfit, this place is convenient right down the block on the UWL campus. 

COVID-19 has made an impact on the organization this fall semester. UWL junior and leader within The Campus Thread, Lindsey Strzyzewski said, “It hasn’t been too bad with the amount of people. We’ve been open two weeks now and it’s just getting people aware that it’s there and that we have this resource again because it was closed spring semester.” 

One way The Campus Thread is trying to revitalize their efforts is through social media. “Something that we’re trying to do as organizers is to revamp it [The Campus Thread] during COVID,” said Szabelski. “We’re trying to get people’s feedback to see what they like, what styles we’re missing, and if they’re having a good experience. We have a new QR code before you go or you can give us feedback on Instagram.” 

This organization left a profound impact on both Lindsey Strzyzewski and Georgia Werner-Hilgers, who are the current leaders of The Campus Thread and have worked there for multiple semesters. “I’ve felt so fortunate to be a part of this organization. Just being part of something meaningful and having a job that actually helps students has been so cool to see,” said Strzyzewski. I get so excited when people come in and people are showing each other the clothes they got. It makes me so happy. I’m glad that people are getting what they need.” 

The Campus Thread is open every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To keep in line with COVID-19 standards, only six people are allowed within the space at a time and must follow social distancing restrictionsDonations are not currently being accepted, but they hopefully will return again in the spring. 

To schedule an appointment, contact [email protected] or [email protected]. 

If you are interested in volunteering or working at the Campus Thread, please contact AJ Clauss at [email protected]. 

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