Rack it up


Last Friday night Hutch Commons’s vaulting expanse made room for table after table of $3 shirts and $4 pants—part of a rummage sale benefiting Darfur relief efforts. The doors opened at 6 p.m., and within an hour the checkout line stood five and six customers deep. Weighed down by backpacks, students wandered among slightly scuffed shoes and loosely folded jeans, or logged silent-auction bids for a digital camera, television, and sound system. A pair of girls in boots and ponytails took turns modeling scarves for each other, while a man held up a sweater to check its size. At the other end of the room, members of the University’s Middle East Music Ensemble plucked out a sprightly Arabic melody on ouds (pear-shaped lutes), zithers, and hand-held drums. (As the evening wore on, a handful of student rock bands and an African-Brazilian performance group from the student organization Gingarte Capoeira took turns providing live entertainment.) Meanwhile, cardboard displays near the register exhorted shoppers to help quell the crisis in Darfur.

Coordinated by students from the University’s Amnesty International club—with help from Giving Tree, the Muslim Students Association, and Hillel—the rummage sale raised $1,800. The money, said co-organizer Alice Sverdlik, will go to Oxfam projects to supply clean water and sanitation for Sudanese refugees. “Oxfam is a nondenominational charity, and that seemed important, since organizations from different faiths were part of the rummage sale,” said Sverdlik, a fourth-year student and Amnesty International member. "Plus, it’s one of the few charities still working in the Darfur region.” Volunteers dropped off unsold clothing and books at local shelters. “It was a very successful event, and honestly a very simple event to set up," Sverdlik said. “We just sold stuff people gave us.”


Photos: Scenes from the rummage sale.

February 22, 2006