Drake students are taking action to raise awareness about global citizenship by presenting an Anti-Sweatshop Fashion Show and creating a recycling program at the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center in downtown Des Moines.
The projects stem from Darcie Vandegrift’s Global Citizenship class, which examines the concept of citizenship and engages students in theories of global identity.
“These students are all working to advance themselves as global citizens as part of their final projects,” said Vandegrift, assistant professor of sociology. “I am seeing many outstanding projects come out of their efforts. This reflects a national trend among college students to engage with their community and create a better world. Our students are certainly evidence of this.”
Nationally, the freshman class of 2005 shows a distinctive rise in attitudes reflecting social concerns and civic responsibility behaviors compared with previous classes, according to “The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 2005” report from the Higher Education Research Institute. The study found that members of the entering class of 2005 are not only interested in helping others through service; they believe it is important to take action personally at different levels.
Drake’s Anti-Sweatshop Fashion Show will start at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, April 13, in Bulldog Theater in Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave. The fashion show is part of a final class project on the clothing industry’s reliance on sweatshops in the production of its products. The fashion show highlights both companies that use sweatshop labor, as well as those that further global citizenship by using non-sweatshop labor.
Clothing for the show ranges from athletic to casual to formal wear. Banana Republic has agreed to donate clothes for the fashion show. Also, students contacted a local fair trade organization to obtain research materials for the show.
The fashion show is open to the public and a $1 donation is requested. Banana Republic has agreed to match all contributions. Proceeds will be used to provide clothing for the homeless or to support an anti-sweatshop organization. The students are also accepting articles of gently used clothing to donate to a local shelter in order to involve others in their effort of global citizenship.
In addition, the class has produced a paper recycling program at the John and Mary Pappajohn Center, which houses classrooms used by the Des Moines Higher Education Collaborative and the Des Moines Public Schools at 1200 Grand Ave.
Rayf Schmidt, a junior majoring in sociology and psychology, submitted the idea to Vandegrift as his intended final project. Within one week he was placing paper collection bins in various locations at the Pappajohn Center, where he works as an administrative assistant.
The recycling project is now in its third week and has become a permanent program at the Pappajohn Center. “It is important for people to know that small actions can have a huge impact on the community,” Schmidt said. “Recycling is a key element in maintaining our resources.”
All paper placed in the recycling bins is stored temporarily in a disposal room at the center until Schmidt and a group of volunteers make weekly deliveries to a recycling center in Des Moines. Schmidt said he plans to hire a pickup service once he is able to evaluate how much paper is collected each week.
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