Those who have passed by the backside of Angell Hall, or walked along the stretch of Pine Street that runs near the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus, might have noticed a small building dubbed “Common Ground.”
Previously a campus ministry, it will soon be adding another feature to its walls; Campus Threads, a thrift shop run by students, for students. Laura Abellera, Campus Climate graduate assistant, said that the shop will be, “A new donation driven clothing closet, free and open to the entire campus community.”
The closet is hosted by the ministry due to lack of available space on Campus, and will be open on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and completely hands off and community sustainable. There will be no limit to what or how much students can take, it is all dependent on individual need. Volunteers and student employees will be present, mostly to stock, accept donations, and maintain the atmosphere.
“There’s no limit on what you can take, no one will be monitoring you that way, anything like that. Basically we are trying to fill the demand for what students are needing. The goal is just to provide whatever it is that students aren’t able to provide on their own,” said Abellera. “And specifically coming up to winter, we will do a winter clothing drive. Coats, hats, mittens, boots… things that tend to be very expensive, but in Wisconsin, things that students very much need.”
Abellera says they haven’t had too much trouble acquiring materials. Campus Climate did a clothing drive at the end of the Spring semester, as students were moving out of Residence Halls and asked movers if there was anything they wanted to donate or didn’t need anymore that they could give to the clothing closet on their way out. “We have a wild amount of donations. More than enough just from that. It was super successful and helpful,” said Abellera.
She mentioned that clothing donations are always welcome during regular open hours should students want to contribute to the closet.
The idea came from two staff members, Taylor Wilmoth and Louise Janke, who had been sitting on the thought for years before reaching out to community members. Last year the ball began to roll, and after reaching out, Pastor Benjamin Morris offered to donate the space needed for the endeavor.
Abellera also mentioned that since Common Ground hosts a coffee shop, caffeine will be an added feature to the thrift store— sustainably created caffeine.
The planning committee, made up of Louise Janke, Taylor Wilmoth, AJ Clauss, Amanda Goodenough, Willem Van Rosenbeek, Laura Abellera, and Garrett Denning are going to try to focus their intake on things that students often need.
“We will try to maintain a good amount of professional business clothing, since those pieces are super expensive, and students often need it for interviews and things. That’s something that we need more donations of. We’ve been trying to get more of it— so it’s our goal for the future. Since it tends to be something that’s super inaccessible due to the financial burden of it,” said Abellera.
If students are looking for something specific, helpers will be in the store to assist. “Someone will be there to help you find things. We are not going to be organizing the clothes in a gendered way, that’s not how we will be doing things. It will be organized by type of clothing item, so the student workers will be there to utilize if a student comes in looking for something specific,” said Abellera.
Campus Threads will kick off with an event on October 25, at the official door opening. Campus Climate wants students to know that volunteers are always welcome.
To learn more, check out the Campus Threads student run Instagram page: @campusthread_uwl (or) email Laura Abellera directly at [email protected] .