By Drue Johnson | Jun 12, 2018

This Earth Day, one green-minded club geared up for a big weekend of recycling clothes. For the first time ever, UW EcoReps partnered with Crossroads Trading Company for a fundraiser honoring Earth Day. Members of the local community were encouraged to stop by Crossroads’ University Way and NE 43rd St location. If they sold an article of clothing and mentioned EcoReps, $5 was donated to the club’s charity of choice.

Staying in line with their mission to “work with peers, faculty, and staff to make the University of Washington a more sustainable place by implementing green ideas,” the club chose to donate funds to the UW’s Another Solar Array Please (ASAP). ASAP is an initiative that accepts donations from members of the UW community, and uses those funds to aid the installation of renewable energy sources across the Seattle campus. Money donated to the fund helps to subsidize long term energy costs for UW, and goes a long way in aiding the campus’ Climate Action Plan (CAP) goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Crossroads’ values mesh perfectly with those of EcoReps, especially given that it was one of the first clothing ventures to bring recycling to the fashion world. They’ve been extremely successful in efforts to reduce consumer reliance on fast fashion, as well as making fiscally exclusive brands more accessible to the everyday person.

In partnership with Crossroads, EcoReps raised $430 to be donated toward solar energy installations. This project is significant not only in the dollar amount it represents, or in its contribution to solar panels for the UW, but as a landmark moment for relations between student groups and corporate entities. While the club has a reputation of being a leader in environmental stewardship, its members recently decided to take a more formative role in promoting holistic sustainability in the local community. Economic concerns are a major component of the “Three Spheres of Sustainability” theory, which proposes that a truly equitable - and sustainable - society is one in which consumers invest in local or socially responsible businesses. This ties in with the idea that consumers should act as corporate stakeholders by using their buying power to show businesses what they want in products, and how they want it.

Likewise, corporate social responsibility methodologies encourage businesses to invest in the local communities they serve to create a sustainable future for consumer and capital alike. In this respect EcoReps’ fundraiser serves as an example of what truly sustainable corporate and community engagements look like. The local club invests time and effort promoting the business concern, and in turn the business re-invests some of the derivative profit back into the community.

Based on the success of this fundraising venture, EcoReps plans to work alongside local businesses more in the future. While they’ve already engaged with local farming shops as part of their “Succulents for Sustainability” fundraiser, next year’s officers are excited to look for more opportunities to promote sustainable collaboration.