The New Canaan High School Environmental Club, run by juniors Bridget Flatow and Abbie Dymond, and advised by science teacher Clare McLellan, is holding a prom clothing drive through April 7. We put some questions to Club members ahead of the drive. Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: Before we get into the clothing drive, tell us about the NCHS Environmental Club. When was it founded and what does it do?
Bridget Flatow: The New Canaan Environmental Club was founded in 2020 in order to make the school and community more environmentally conscious. The club meets every other Tuesday, and during the club, we talk about new projects and initiatives to encourage our environmental values. Some projects include clean-up days in which we pick up trash around the outside of the High School and Waveny park and Plastic free days. Our most recent Plastic free day occurred on February 9th and we gave away metal straws to every student who brought a plastic alternative. Check out our Instagram: nchsenvclub, to follow our future projects and initiatives!
When did you join the club? What drew you to it?
Bridget Flatow: You see news and media every day talking about the way the environment is collapsing, I think it can get overwhelming to look at that and wonder, what can I do? I joined the environmental club freshman year and became co-president because I believe that as students there is a lot that we can do even at a small scale. Doing things like picking up trash around the community, choosing plastic alternatives, and donating clothes instead of throwing them out are all small actions that impact the environment in big ways. It’s also an opportunity to get other students and members of the community excited about environmentally conscious efforts.
Abbie Dymond: I joined the club towards the end of my freshman year. The state of our environment has always been a worry to me, and I’ve often found myself frustrated with the state of the planet. Being a teenager, I recognized that there was probably little that I could do on a larger scale, but I saw an opportunity to become more sustainable within my community through the environmental club. Joining the club freshman year to now having a leadership role has taught me much about becoming more sustainable and that it’s a lot easier than many think.
Sammie Plosker, sophomore member: I joined because I want to support an environmentally conscious atmosphere at NCHS.
Maeve Hibbert, junior member: I joined the environmental club at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school in order to make impactful change within our community, advocate for better care and consideration of our environment at school, and give back to the community through environmental conservation efforts.
Hadley Walker, junior member: I joined the environmental club at the start of my sophomore year in efforts to make a difference, no matter the change within our school community. Whether it is conservation techniques, bake sales for charity or the overall practice of being environmentally conscious, I am happy to be of help as hopefully make a bigger change.
Zoë L’Henaff, junior member: I joined the environmental club because it allowed for students to get involved in thoughtful projects that benefited our community and those around it. It is so inspiring to see everyone’s passion for environmentalism and how much effort we all put into the club.
Tell us about the “Prom Clothing Drive.” How did the club come up with this idea?
The drive will run from March 13th to April 7th and there are donation boxes at both the New Canaan Library in the teen center and the New Canaan High School Main Office. All donations will be brought to Person to Person.
Bridget Flatow: As prom season arrives we recognize that many people aren’t able to have a “normal” prom experience with a dress or suit, we also recognize the environmental impacts of the fashion industry and how prom clothing often gets worn once and then thrown out. I am super interested in the fashion industry which is notorious for having negative effects on the environment, so I always love looking for ways to make fashion and clothing more environmentally friendly. This drive is a great opportunity to be able to help others who may not have been able to have a prom dress or suit otherwise while also promoting eco-friendly practices.
Abbie Dymond: At the high school, prom is in full swing, so it’s on almost every junior and senior’s mind. I volunteer at Person to Person in Darien, which is a non-profit organization that works to bring food and clothing to local families in need. While I was recently volunteering, I was helping a client, and she told me that she had a daughter similar to my age. I started thinking how prom must also be on her mind, but she might have a much different experience dress shopping than my peers and I. Bridget, and I talked about this, and with her knowledge of the fashion industry and my connection to Person to Person, we thought a prom clothing drive would be the perfect way to help our community in a sustainable way.
What would you tell New Canaan residents who are reading this but are unsure whether they have the types of clothes that are appropriate for this particular drive?
Abbie Dymond: I think what’s really important for New Canaan residents to know is that anything and everything is appreciated. It doesn’t have to be the most extravagant attire. Any formal attire, for both girls and boys, would be greatly appreciated by families at Person to Person. On a separate note, Person to Person is always accepting clothing donations, so aside from the prom drive, clothes are always appreciated.
Bridget Flatow: Any sort of formal attire is appreciated. While we do wish we could reuse and donate every piece of clothing, make sure that the clothing you donate is lightly worn, meaning no holes or rips. However, if you are looking for a place to recycle your ripped clothing, earth911.com is a great website that tells you nearby places to recycle different materials such as clothing.
What else, if anything, would you like to share with our readers about the Environmental Club or Prom Clothing Drive?
Abbie Dymond: Prom is a really special event for many and is something that people remember for the rest of their lives. I think this Prom Clothing Drive is a really special opportunity to give back to the community and help make sure that people in less fortunate areas have an amazing time too. If you’re able to donate attire to the Prom Clothing Drive, please do, and know that your generosity will be greatly appreciated by families in need.
I’m impressed by the youths awareness activism care & thoughtfulness
This is such a thoughtful idea in addition to all the scientific care behind it. Locating the right place within the school that provides privacy for students who are interested in ‘browsing’ and being on display……
Great job! One can also recycle shoes, clothes and material at the transfer station as they have bins there for that purpose. They must be bagged.