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Top 3 Things You Need to Know Before Your Next Thrift Haul

Emily Bevacqua

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Rack holding up various blouses and shirts with people shopping behind it, in a thrift store.

Social media has popularized thrift shopping. Although second-hand shopping is good for the environment at first glance, the gentrification of thrifting has made the supply of vintage clothing diminish. Taking away quality second-hand clothes from low-income consumers gives them no other option but to turn to fast fashion. The result: more harm to the environment than good. 

Thrift shopping has become a major trend. Second-hand stores no longer have a dirty, “used” stigma around them.

People have stopped associating them with charity work and have come to see its vintage potential. More and more shoppers, especially those of younger generations, love the fact that it’s cheap, eco-friendly, and unique. 

This gentrification of thrifting is supported by social media. Many influencers have begun thrifting and showing off their clothe to their social media followers which increases the pressure to stay trendy.

YouTubers like Emma Chamberlain and Paul Cantu post videos of their thrift hauls. There are many Instagram accounts including, I Got it from the Charity Shop that flaunt cute vintage finds to encourage followers to do the same. 

Besides influencers, younger generations are becoming more aware of the detrimental effects of climate change and how clothing production affects it. In the fashion industry, clothing stores are beginning to turn to environmentally friendly materials, like organic cotton, and provide proper working conditions for their employees.

Because companies are putting more money into their production, prices of their products skyrocket. Second-hand stores offer a cheaper alternative that is still beneficial to the environment.

The Downsides of Thrifting

Although shopping second-hand may seem like a positive idea, it could also be seen as doing more harm than good. Low-income consumers rely on thrift stores to find quality clothes at a price they can afford.

People who can afford to shop at other and more expensive eco-friendly options are choosing to thrift with the increasing popularity of second-hand shopping. With more consumers, the quality clothes at second-hand stores are now limited for those who actually need them.

There are a couple of ways the gentrification of thrifting has diminished the supply of clothes. Finding larger clothing has always been tough when shopping second-hand.

Now, more and more people who thrift look for bigger clothing so they can modify it to create a trendy item. Extra-large men’s t-shirts can be turned into a dress.

Large weathered, light blue sign with gold writing saying "second hand" pointing to a thrift store.
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Larger vintage sweatshirts are an easy lazy day outfit. People who can only fit into large clothing are having even more trouble finding items that fit now that petite people are eating away at their supply. 

Sometimes, people will even find vintage clothing at second-hand stores and resell them at a higher price in order to make a small profit.

This also depletes quality clothing at thrift stores. The Vintage Twin, an account on Instagram, prides herself in doing this. She finds clothes, reworks them, and sells them for high prices. 

With the supply of quality clothing in thrift stores decreasing, low-income consumers turn to fast fashion for their clothing needs.

Fast fashion is cheap due to the exploitation of workers and unsafe working conditions as well as use of cheap materials. Not only is this unethical, but buying these clothes leads to a serious impact on the environment.

Fast Fashion Destroying the Environment 

The concept of fast fashion encourages consumers to view clothes as disposable. There are constantly new items being released to replace the old with less than 1% of it recycled when an item is discarded.

The poor quality fabric gives each article a short lifespan and sends consumers back to the store to buy more. 

Cheap materials, like polyester, make up 90% of clothes and emit 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gasses annually during textile production. With cotton requiring a lot of water and pesticides to grow, and polyester deriving from oil, the environment in countries of production are being harmed tremendously.

For example, untreated wastewater from dyes is discharged into local water systems. This releases heavy metals and other toxicants into the water which harms the health of animals and residents nearby. 

Beyond the production of fast fashion, 85% of clothing Americans wear is sent to landfills as solid waste. Only one-fifth of donated clothes to charities and thrift stores is actually used or sold.

The rest of it is sold by the bale to other countries, where it is deemed worthy of reselling, recycling or throwing away. Those sent to landfills end up clogging rivers, greenways, and parks, thus creating environmental health hazards.

Young generations have been turning away from these fast fashion companies due to their effect on the environment; however, low-income consumers are now increasing their business. 

Think Twice Before Thrifting

The root cause of the gentrification of thrifting and its effects on the environment is people not recognizing their privilege. If you choose to thrift even if you can afford other stores, think about those you are taking away from.

Don’t go over the top in buying a lot of new clothes for cheap at second-hand stores; buy fewer clothes for more money at stores you know are environmentally friendly.

Be aware of greenwashing and know which companies are making claims about sustainability versus those who actually are practicing it. Recognize the fact that it is a privilege to have available retail options when buying clothes.

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College Life

The State of College Football in 2020

Ian Wentzlaff

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Football player carrying the ball and running towards the end zone as the other team hustles to catch up to him

This college football season feels different than any that have come before. Perhaps it is the fact that teams in various conferences experienced a staggered start to the season. Another explanation is that the typically packed stadiums are half-empty, with fans being socially distanced inside. Certainly, the black cloud of COVID-19 looms over college football.

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out earlier this year, fans and players begrudgingly relinquished their sports seasons. Several professional leagues, including the NBA and NHL, successfully crowned a champion, finishing their seasons off in a fashion that satisfied even the most die-hard fans.

However, doubt still lingered as to whether football season would kick off as normal. Other sports were able to successfully finish their seasons, but football would attempt to start and finish a season without batting an eye. Another wrench in the works: college teams would still need to travel in order to play against each other. The NBA, NHL, and MLB were able to significantly mitigate the risk to players and coaches by moving all teams to one or two “bubble” locations where they could isolate from the virus.

The decision to hold a 2020 college football season was met with mixed reviews inside and around the NCAA, the governing agency of college athletics. Certain conferences opted to sit out the entire season, citing that the revenue simply did not justify the health risk to everyone involved. However, after several weeks of sitting out, some of those conferences decided to take part in the season anyway.

A football laid down so the grips are facing up, a white stripe on both ends of the ball
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This indecisiveness caused many schools to play an odd number of games. Currently, the NCAA is 5 weeks into the season. Certain teams, such as the Alabama Crimson Tide, have played in all 5 weeks. Others have only played one game so far, and others still are determined to place the health and safety of their universities over the opportunity to make money. 

An argument has been made that the risk the virus poses to young people is minuscule, and the economic opportunities provided by NCAA football is sorely needed now. However, consider the fact that young people can still die from this virus. In fact, unlike the NBA, which did not record a single positive test throughout the bubble, college football players have already lost their lives to the virus.

Adding to the concern, universities across the country are reporting new COVID-19 cases every day. Many of the nation’s top football programs have cases numbering in the thousands on their home campuses. Still, the NCAA is willing to gamble on the lives of young people.

This is certainly not a new development for the NCAA, which uses an unpaid labor force of student athletes to generate massive revenue every year. Additionally, some programs made it clear that if their players opted out of this season, they were off the team. Subsequently, many players decided to return to the field, more afraid of losing their scholarship and education than of contracting the virus.

Now, as the 2020 college football season approaches its halfway point, many still wonder if it will reach its intended conclusion. The impact of the virus has of course been felt on the playing field. Teams have been forced to resort to backups more often as their starters have fallen ill; one game even had to be cancelled when Vanderbilt could not field a healthy team of the 53 players required by conference regulations. 

Zoomed out, aerial shot of the Rose Bowl Stadium
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Across the programs of the county, dozens of players and coaches have caught the virus. Even the sports’ biggest icons have not been immune. Nick Saban, the head coach and architect of Alabama’s recent dynasty, tested positive just earlier this month. All of these players and coaches missing games has led to one of the most improbable starts to the season, where a major upset seems likely to happen every week.

Still, what will it take for an improbable end to this season of college football? When will the NCAA admit it has made a grave mistake by risking the lives of so many people, especially when most are unpaid, poor college kids? The long road to winning a championship is paved with the hardships that have been overcome along the way, but perhaps now is the time to stop and rest, to recover before any more lives are unnecessarily lost for the sake of sports.

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College Life

Five Easy Ways to Reap the Benefits of Virtual College Tours

Abrar Shah

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Man in a suit giving a virtual college tour

Even with a ranging pandemic dictating the American way of life, little can stop the desires of up-and-coming college students to know more about their schools. This opens up one of the few possible alternatives: virtual college tours. Whether you are on a budget, don’t have the means to travel extensive distances, or simply do not want to travel in this climate, virtual tours may be the gateway to help you determine how to push through your higher education. 

  1. Snatch the opportunity to see what classroom and building interiors are like

Unlike middle school and high school tours, college tours do not offer visitors the liberty of seeing a class in action or even allow them to see a classroom at all. Virtual tours, however, allow you to see the inside of nearly any building you may be using on-campus, depending on how much coverage the particular school decided to allow for their virtual tours. For some people, this alone is a game-changer, so make sure you exercise this opportunity to the fullest.

  1. With classes now almost exclusively online at many schools, see if you can sit in on on

This is something you should check in on with school representatives if possible. Many campuses across the country are now using Zoom or other distance-learning methods, and it is very likely that you may be allowed to join one as a silent observer. Of course, this can only be discovered when you enquire about it, but many schools will be happy to allow prospective students a front-line look into their academics. I recall quite well that in the various incarnations of grade school, there would be prospective parents sitting in the classroom for some classes.

Since actual campus tours wouldn’t allow that, it should be much easier to do it virtually. 

  1. See if you can simulate a day at school

You will often understand a concept better through practice, so take advantage of simulating a day on campus and determine whether you can truly see yourself existing on the campus for however many years you intend to be there. Timing is everything and this can be a useful way to determine how much you will have to move around on any given day. 

  1. You can always decide to visit later if you feel that it’s worth it

Arguably the best advantage of virtual college tours is that you can do it within the comfort of your own home, while also being able to avoid the potentially lackluster in-person experience. Virtual tours will allow you to decide whether it’s worth the time and money to visit a certain school of your interest in-person to get the full authentic feel you may need to complete your decision. Additionally, virtual tours will also allow you to determine whether you will \need to keep a school in mind for the future; take advantage of the process of elimination whenever possible, especially if you are the kind of person that applies to many schools.

  1. Discover what matters to you (and ask all the questions)

The ability to see more means that you now have a reason to ask more questions than you would if you were actually on campus, since you would most likely be in a group and tours have strict timing and schedules. Do you need space to throw your javelins or do you derive satisfaction from simply watching basketball games?

You can approach your virtual tour as you see fit and you’ll very likely think of things you probably never would have ended up asking in person. When it comes to the college process, your genuine interest in a school does make a difference. However, you need to be very careful to not make your interest appear artificial, as people who spend their days handling college admissions will be quick to figure this out.

At the end of the day, you’re in charge of what you believe is best for you, and being prepared for what may lay ahead is only beneficial. Do not let something take more time than it needs to and swipe away opportunities now that you may not be able to get again later.

Perhaps it is the virtual tour that can justify your dream school or turn one that never was into one. Exercise your options effectively and you will reward yourself with the place you’re meant to be in going forward.

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College Life

5 Secrets to be Successful in Online Zoom Lectures

Mariah Olmstead

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A girl wearing blue jeans and a black sweater, sitting by a window attending a live zoom lecture
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Many colleges and universities around the United States have reopened for the new academic year, but several still operate online. Zoom is one of the more popular platforms these days for online classes and is preferred by professors as it is more user-friendly.

As most college students know by now, lectures are sometimes tedious in person, but they can be just as boring online.

Here are 5 tips to help students focus and be successful in online Zoom lectures. 

1) Have a cup of coffee, tea, or water 

Lectures can often be a snoozefest, especially when they’re early in the morning and you don’t have to go through the motions of dressing up and traveling to a physical class. Waking up with a refreshing cup of coffee, tea, or water can help you keep yourself awake during these lectures. However, take care that you do not drink too much, or you may find yourself running to the bathroom during class and missing important information! 

2) Use pen and paper

Even in-person lectures require some set of writing utensils to take those important notes and ensure you don’t miss out on any information. So why would it be any different online? While taking notes on a laptop can be quicker, most professors on Zoom calls want to see their students’ faces, and professors can notice when students aren’t paying attention, even online. 

A woman wearing a white shirt and black jacket sitting at a table on a laptop.
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3) Study in a quiet environment

Being able to focus during lectures is important, so making sure everything is quiet can make for an easier time during class. Of course, noise and distractions are hard to completely avoid, with everyone’s home lives being different, but try to have as quiet of an environment as you can. 

4) Prepare books and readings

Most professors will assign a reading assignment for the next class so that students can discuss it, or so the professor can elaborate on it more. Having the reading or book with you and ready for class is beneficial if the professor asks you a question regarding the book or reading, or if the professor breaks people up into groups to discuss the reading. Having the reading by your side is great for quick references and to show the class you know your stuff. 

A girl wearing a white shirt and watch, laying in her bed on a laptop.
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5) Use a comfy chair

Lectures are long, and sitting all day can strain your back. Having a chair that is properly adjusted and comfortable will help ensure that you aren’t squirming or moving a lot during class. It also helps reduce strain so you can focus better. While a good chair can be expensive, it helps in the long run with comfort, as well as avoiding RSI and injuries from prolonged sitting. 

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