Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
18 June 2024

& Culture

Donated clothes on campus go missing

The Student Clothing Exchange by SRVU is dealing with an unfortunate problem. Clothes from their donation bin in the StudentenD0k have been disappearing, forcing the student union to get rid of the bin altogether.

Little more than a year after the Clothing Exchange’s inception, SRVU members Ksenija Ustinoviča and Dick Stuut were surprised to find the donation bin completely empty for several weeks in a row. The shiny metal bin – which has a bilingual note on it explaining that it’s not trash – used to receive clothes almost every day according to Ustinoviča.


Ustinoviča decided to try a little experiment by putting clothes in the bin herself. First, she put some damaged clothes in the bin, as they wouldn’t be used for the exchange anyway. “They disappeared within a day.” To ensure the previous clothes weren’t discarded by someone because they were damaged, Ustinoviča tried again with undamaged (but still unsuitable) clothes inside a plastic bag. The result was the same.

“We don’t know what’s happening to the clothes”, says Stuut. “I want to apologize to the people who donated clothes expecting it to be sold at the exchange. I’m not proud that this has happened.” For now the bin has been removed and people have to contact SRVU on Instagram to drop off clothes, which will likely lead to less clothing coming in.

Stuut and Ustinoviča go into a short brainstorming session about how they could get their hands on a locked bin that people can put their clothes in, but can’t easily take them out of. For now, they haven’t found a solution yet.

€ 200 pajamas

According to Ustinoviča, who came up with the idea for the clothing exchange, the initiative has really taken off since it began. She says there are usually ten or twenty visitors browsing clothes during the hour-long monthly exchange in the StudentenD0k. And it gives students a rare opportunity to sustainably and affordably buy high quality clothes, including brands like Van Laack, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Levi’s. “I’m sleeping in a two hundred euro shirt”, says Ustinoviča, because the prices at the exchange range from fifty cents to two euros.

The next exchange is planned for the 27th of March from 17:00 to 18:00. Although there may be less new items this time around, there are still plenty of clothes available from previous exchanges.


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