Climate change class to reduce dorm waste with Spring Swap event 

As students clean out their dorms for the end of the semester, a lot of functional items that they no longer need are going to be discarded. In collaboration with Clyde’s Student Needs Closet, the GES 3250 climate change class is hosting a Spring Swap event for students to exchange items rather than throwing them out.  

The Spring Swap will take place May 3 at the quad between Telluride and Vail. Advertisements request that participants bring items in good condition such as clothing, small appliances, non-perishable foods and plants to trade with other people.  

According to associate professor of geography and environmental studies Christine Biermann, any staff or students connected to campus are welcome to join in. She described the event as “a garage sale, but where everything is free.” 

“We kind of liken it to a pop-up thrift shop where people can bring items to donate,” she said. “It’s about diverting waste, so making sure we’re not just throwing away things that could be used.”  

Sophomore business major and class member Bailey Parenteau explained that in her experience living on campus, the end of the school year means “giant trash cans all over where the dorms are in Alpine and in Summit, and they will just be filled to the brim with brand new items that people just can’t take with them.”  

“The goal with this is… to show people that there are other things you can do and other options, [such] as donating to thrift stores or places that could use those things for people who are in need,” she said.  

Biermann explained that the Spring Swap is the culminating project for the climate change class rather than a paper or an in-class assignment. In keeping with the theme of the class, the event will feature additional information on sustainability and climate change.  

“So often we think about green energy, putting solar panels on houses and kind of what [seem] like easy solutions, but one thing we’ve been talking about in the class is how climate change… really requires cultural change,” she said. “The goal is to kind of imagine what kind of cultural and social changes we could be part of that would also address climate change, and also have these other benefits for other aspects of the community.” 

Biermann further explained that the event is an opportunity to briefly experience what it’s like to “live in a society where we’re not just exchanging things based on money, [but] where we’re also promoting this idea of a sharing economy.” 

Parenteau added that the event will help students in the GES 3250 class act on the information they have been learning throughout the semester rather than feeling helpless in the face of climate change.  

“We talked about a lot of heavy topics where it almost felt like… we’re not doing a lot, or there’s not a lot [we can do],” she said. “This is a way of kind of being proactive, and for everyone to kind of be like, ‘climate change is happening,’ but there are things we can do to kind of mitigate that.” 

The event will be taking place from 1 to 4 p.m. More information can be found on the Spring Swap Instagram account, @uccsspringswap

Spring Swap event poster. Courtesy of GES 3250.

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