Junior Grace Kreitler and junior Casey McKay hold up a quilt in the Davis Center Dec. 3. (Mac Mansfield-Parisi)
Junior Grace Kreitler and junior Casey McKay hold up a quilt in the Davis Center Dec. 3.

Mac Mansfield-Parisi

Student-run thrift shop provides accessible art and clothing

December 3, 2021

Vermont Students Toward Environmental Protection is the student-run organization behind the weekly pop-up thrift shop in the Davis Center.

VSTEP sells clothes donated by UVM students at the Davis Center. They host student artists at the shop, allowing them to sell their art alongside the clothes, said junior Eliza Rakaseder, vice president of the club. 

While the funds from the clothing sales support VSTEP’s other activities like club meetings, the art program joined this year as an outlet for talented student artists to sell their creations, Rakaseder said. 

“We think that there are a lot of really talented people here, so we want to give them a platform to sell their art if they want to,” Rakaseder said. “We just want to give support to artists here on campus because we think that’s super important.” 

VSTEP reaches out to student artists whose creations vary from prints to jewelry. All money made from art goes directly back to the artist, Rakaseder said.

Sophomore Sabine Love is a club member and one of the artists who features her work at this event. Love focuses on black and white ink prints that vary from portraits to mountain scapes. 

“It’s a great way to be able to get my work out,” Love said. “I hadn’t really sold my art before I was given this opportunity through VSTEP.”

Love said she prices her prints at $5 to make them affordable for college students.

“I’m someone who likes to collect art from different artists and support local artists,” she said. “I wanted to give people the opportunity to kind of be able to buy more than one print for a reasonable price.”

The thrift shop prioritizes affordability in their mission, Rakaseder said. The program serves to not only support the environment, but also provide affordable clothing to college students. 

Junior Sophia Mancusi joined VSTEP her first year.

Students can pay for the clothes through donations which can range from $1 to $5, according to @vstepuvm.  

VSTEP collects donations in boxes around dorm buildings, as well as during the thrift shop itself. Members sort and upcycle the clothing to make them more appealing. These changes include embroidering pockets and painting on the clothes, Mancusi said.

While the pop-up thrift shop is one of VSTEP’s biggest programs, the club itself is focused on environmental change on the individual and university level, Rakaseder said.

“I joined because the focus was not only increasing sustainability on campus in terms of individual practices,” Rakaseder said. 

Mancusi was drawn to the club for similar reasons, she said. 

“It’s a lot of students who come together who are really passionate,” Mancusi said. “There’s a lot of things that UVM can do better and I think having students advocate for that is something we all find really important in the club.”

Weekly meetings occur on Mondays at 7 p.m., where students participate in zero waste activities, work on upcycling projects and can donate their own clothes, Rakaseder said. 

While thrift shop proceeds support the club, VSTEP looks to start donating extra profit to local environmental organizations. 

VSTEP’s collection as well as work from artists around the school can be found in the Rosa Parks room on the first floor of the Davis Center. Tabling occurs on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and payments are accepted via the Purchase Portal or in cash. 

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