On April 19, students at West Virginia University have the chance to participate in a national clothing drive.

The OneShirt campaign, a textile recycling drive held on the campuses of hundreds of colleges and universities from every state in the country that compete against each other began in 2010 as a homegrown effort between WVU and SustainU, a Morgantown based eco-friendly clothing maker.

The average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing every year. And a single pair of jeans requires 900 gallons of water to make.

In an effort to increase recycling and divert textiles from landfills, WECAN, WVU’s sustainability program, is encouraging the campus community to participate in OneShirt. Staff and students are encouraged to donate old clothing at a designated drop-off location and help WVU win this national competition.

The drop off location is the Mountainlair Green (or in the event of rain the Blackwater Room in the Mountainlair) on Friday, April 19, from 3-7:30 pm.

WECAN, the Center for Civic Engagement, the Clarksburg Mission and scores of student groups and community partners are joining the campaign this year as they try to top last year’s second-place finish. The clothing will be donated to the Clarksburg Mission, an agency that provides shelter, clothing, food and other services to hungry and homeless individuals in the region.

Chris Mullet, executive director of the Mission, is very supportive of the campaign and appreciative of what it will mean for the Clarksburg Mission.

“More than 40 percent of our operating budget at the Clarksburg Mission is generated through our clothing and thrift shop businesses,” he said. “The support for the OneShirt campaign will help us as we house more than 100 people and provide more case management, life skills, recovery support, clothing, medicine and other services today and every day.”

Mullet also sees this event as a way to fulfill their mission to the clients they serve.

“We help people to recycle and repair their lives,” he said. “It’s appropriate that the OneShirt campaign is helping us do that.”

When Clement Solomon, director of sustainability, and SustainU met with a small group of students and volunteers in a coffee shop during the winter of 2009, they didn’t expect the initiative to grow into a national campaign the following year.

“When you start something like that, you never know where it will take you,” he said. “I’m happy to see that it’s grown into a partnership between WVU, a private company, and a non-profit organization. Those kinds of service partnerships are a cornerstone of WVU’s land-grant mission.”

Both WVU and the clothing company wanted to demonstrate the importance of incorporating sustainability into everyday living through illustrating the basic human need of clothing. Like so many other events at WVU, including Sustainability Awareness Week, OneShirt relies heavily on student leadership.

Alyssa Mariano, a senior student at WVU and sorority member of Alpha Xi Delta, says the Greek community is happy to contribute to the campaign.

“Greek life is a huge contributor to this competition since there are so many students involved,” she said. “The relationship between students and the Morgantown community is a very important and healthy relationship, which makes this such a fun event.”

WVU also runs a full-time textile recycling program with four campus drop-off locations.

To find out more this and other sustainability efforts, visit http://wecan.wvu.edu/.



CONTACT: Clement Solomon, Director of Sustainability
(304) 293-7202, Clement.Solomon@mail.wvu.edu

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