By Nicole Park
Daily Titan Staff Writer
Cal State Fullerton’s Quad will be transformed into a giant flea market on Thursday, Nov. 12, when the student volunteer group Students Advocating Civic Transformation will host its second Green Living event. From 11 a.m. â€“ 4 p.m. clothes and miscellaneous wares donated by students will be sold at low prices to other students as part of the group’s ongoingfundraising effort.
“Almost nothing will be sold over $5,” said Michelle Santizo, project director, who is currently serving her sixth semester as a volunteer with CSUF’s Volunteer and Service Center.
Along with the typical goods sold, there will also be live music and dancing, merchandise vendors and bake sale treats made by the four project directors and 15 volunteers on the planning committee.
Carolina Franco, 18, co-project director, said that although the group already has a wide variety of donated items including clothing, small furniture pieces and miscellaneous items including poker chips, the organizers of the event, “desperately need anything students want to donate.” Last year, the event filled the entire Quad, Franco said, and the group aims to accumulate the same amount of items for sale this year and attract a large crowd of bargain-buying students.
Donations will be accepted in the Volunteer and Service Center in the Titan Student Union, Room 2, on the basement level just outside the Garden CafÃ© until today.
The more items donated, the bigger the thrift-store-style event will be, which will directly affect how much money is raised. The money raised will go into a fund that will be added to throughout the academic year with more fundraising. Every spring semester the fund is emptied and a $10,000 event is hosted by the students to spread social awareness among CSUF students.
“This project is a fundraiser for our group’s annual Social Justice Summit. Everything we’re doing now is for our big event,” said Chirag Bhakta, project director.
While Students ACT takes donations for Green Living from charitable students and sells them at a profit to other students, the cycle itself is very “green,” and the volunteer group channels the recycled money back to the social education of the student body at CSUF and the public during its day-long conference.
The CSUF volunteer Web site describes the Social Justice Summit as: “a forum for people to exchange ideas about improving the state of our communities, offers space to dialogue about the obstacles to creating effective change, provides effective tools for social action, and offers tangible grassroots solutions.”
The 6th Annual Social Justice Summit, which is tentatively planned for April 2010, will host approximately 20 speakers. There will be three different workshop sessions, and students will be able to choose one workshop per session to attend. The workshops cover international social justice issues. Topics from last year’s summit included environmentalism, human trafficking, hunger, poverty, hate crimes, animal cruelty and AIDS.
Bhakta said that not only is the event free for all CSUF students to attend, but it also includes a free lunch, snacks throughout the day and the payment for some of the keynote speakers.
Due to the nature of the event, some speakers even donate their time to their cause.
“These are nationally recognized speakers who hold these workshops,” Bhakta said.
Last year’s guests included Jerry Quickley, a performance poet, and Carlos Andres Gomez, an actor, playwright and poet.
Amy Mattern, VSC coordinator, said that the center relies, in part, upon discounts and donations from academic, business or individual sources.
Students ACT is one of several other volunteer groups within the volunteer center. Other groups include Project Read, Hunger Coalition and Project Earth. The volunteer center also oversees the blood drives on campus.
Mattern said there are no requirements for students looking to volunteer. Students can inquire within the office and choose a project from many resources available in order to find a perfect opportunity to contribute.
The Volunteer and Service Center has a direct connection with the Hunger Coalition’s food drive. Franco’s sister, Norma, volunteered all four years she attended CSUF. Since graduating, Norma now works for the nonprofit organization Community Action Partnership of Orange County, which is helping the food drive efforts. From Nov. 2 â€“ Dec. 2, food will be collected and donated to the Orange County Food Bank; students can turn in any food donations to the VSC.
Although Franco is just a freshman, she has been volunteering with CSUF since her sister’s days in the VSC office.
“I started here when she did,” Franco said, “but I was still in high school.”
Franco said it’s never too late to become a volunteer, and the group needs volunteers to work this event for the setup, take-down, and transactions during the day.
Just as she says living green can be done in small, but significant ways, Santizo said students with crammed schedules can still make a difference as volunteers.
“Volunteering doesn’t mean you have to work 10 hours at an event. It can just be a smile or helping someone walk across the street, just anything to make someone else happier,” Santizo said.
One easy tip she had for greener living was shopping at Thursday’s event.
“I think it’s important for students to learn that it’s OK to reuse clothing. The items can be washed,” Santizo said.
“Friends borrow clothes all the time,” Santizo said, to remind students who are not used to thrift-store shopping.
Most items will sell for less than $5, so bring a reusable bag or two. Only cash will be accepted at the event.
For more information, contact the Volunteer and Service Center by calling (657) 278-7623, e-mailing [email protected] or visiting the office at TSU, Room 2.