Lutes traded a multitude of knitted garments on campus on Oct. 6 in the Commons. Thanks to the planning of Pacific Lutheran University’s Residence Hall Association, many students participated in the first event of UnPLUgged.
“The Sweater Swap was a huge success,” senior Drew Huff, the sustainability director for RHA, said.
Lutes were encouraged to come in with old sweaters and trade them out for new designs in the name of sustainability.
“The most rewarding part was just hearing students say how cool the idea was,” Huff said.
Even if students didn’t see advertisements, the second annual swap was placed in the middle of daily foot traffic in the Anderson University Center so that they would still see the event itself and become a part of it.
Huff said students were so excited about the event that they are hoping to see another sweater swap, hopefully closer to Christmas so that further exchange of tacky sweaters can take place.
The Goodwill offered their support to the RHA by giving PLU 100 sweaters at a reduced cost to start the sharing spirit, and Lutes brought in as many as four sweaters each, often-times only leaving with one. Many sweater enthusiasts traded out the old for the new, but RHA is pleased to announce that it is not only Lutes who will be getting new threads this season.
Seventy-five sweaters and $121.66 were still left over to donate to the Tacoma Rescue Mission, just in time for the colder months.
“We thought that bringing both the monetary donation and the sweaters to the Tacoma Rescue Mission would be more of an immediate response to help those in need,” Huff said. “The Sweater Swap in particular is not just about wearing a sweater and turning down the thermostat during the winter to save energy, but it is also sustainable in the way of clothes exchange and then sharing that with the community.”
This year, the Sweater Swap adds to one of RHA’s bigger goals surrounding the events of UnPLUgged: “all programming with purpose,” said senior Bre Young, the president of RHA. “Students want to help—they want to be involved—especially on this campus, and it is cool that we can provide outlets for them to do that,” explained Young.
RHA partnered with Sustainability and Energy on campus to organize UnPLUgged this year. Each residence hall also has a sustainability representative, each of whom are welcome to plan their own events for their hall throughout the month.
UnPLUgged began more than half a decade ago, starting with the “Hour of No Power,” an event that remained consistent in UnPLUgged every year since.
In recent years, UnPLUgged has turned into a month long schedule of events that encourage students to get out of their residence halls and participate in activities that don’t require power.
The halls are in competition with one another to try to use the least amount of energy; the power consumption of each hall during October is recorded and reported back to students.
“The most exciting part for me has been, as president, I get to learn a lot,” Young said. “I’ve been educated immensely about the actual sustainability processes as well as what goes on on campus already.”
She said she is happy that she has been able to gain the tools that have allowed her to create “better awareness and education for students.”
When planning UnPLUgged, Huff and Young aimed to create events that are entertaining for college students. “Sustainability is big downer sometimes in the sense of where our world is going, so [UnPLUgged] brings some light and hope to it and a little bit of fun,” Young added.
“One big theme this year is the idea of tangible sustainability,” Young said.
Huff agreed, saying, “In the past, so much of UnPLUgged has been educational for students, and we are definitely still keeping that theme of educating students […] but something that I think is really special is making sustainability tangible. With events like the Sweater Swap, students are actually bringing something home to utilize. It is not just words that we are imprinting on people, but we are actually sharing things with people.”
Huff feels that while events like a documentary about climate change are great, they do not necessarily whip students into a fit of excitement. This year’s documentary can be seen in Admin 101 on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.
Another event on campus this month is the “Hour of No Power” on Oct. 16. This year, Huff tried to add more events encouraging students to leave their residence hall.
He believes that participating in events that require unplugging and leaving areas in which students usually use technology can be good practice to use less power.
Scared of the dark? There is an acoustic concert in the Cave, a bonfire and glow in the dark Frisbee at Foss Field to keep Lutes occupied between 8 and 9 p.m.
Along with the sweater swap, a documentary and the “Hour of No Power,” Huff and Young are both looking forward to this year’s Recycling Fashion Show. Huff said he is excited because he likes the idea behind the fashion show, “having teams of people designing an outfit made of recycled materials.”
Lutes can watch the fashion show Oct. 30 with a panel of judges who will deem how fashionable and sustainable each outfit really is.
“I hope a lot of people are there to see it, otherwise they will really be missing out,” Huff said. “The most satisfying part for me is the day of [each of the events]. I look forward to the rest of the month; there is so much to come!” ◼︎