WUSA launches Sustainability Store


The opening of WUSA’s new Sustainability Store will provide University of Waterloo students with yet another opportunity to live a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

According to WUSA’s sustainability commissioner Jenna Phillips, the store will operate similar to a thrift store, running entirely on donations and managed by a team of volunteers, with the goal of making clothing as affordable and accessible as possible.

“It’s really about the community aspect, because we’re providing clothes at great prices and educating about sustainability and how your choices impact the environment,” Phillips said. The store will be located on the lower level of the Student Life Centre (SLC), across from the CIBC.

WUSA’s Sustainability Store is just the latest accomplishment in a journey full of ups and downs. As Phillips’ open letter states, the WUSA Sustainability Project, which worked on the store, was only established in 2020 as a “re-imagined form” of the Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI). 

Michelle Angkasa, WUSA’s first sustainability commissioner, included details of the SCI’s previous work in her introduction letter. Accomplishments included the four-stream waste bins spread across campus; the addition of water bottle refilling stations in the Columbia Icefield and Physical Activities Complex; and pushing for UW to earn its Fair Trade Designation, with the inclusion of Fairtrade-certified chocolate, coffee and tea at all UW or student-run eateries.

The idea for the store had been in the making even before Angkasa was appointed for the role. However, as with many things, the pandemic slowed the store’s opening due to the regulations barring specific activities from being completed. The hiring of volunteers and preparation of clothes for sale were unable to be carried out, Phillips said.

“[The pandemic] was very influential as to what we could do, what we were allowed to do…but we were as productive as possible,” she added. 

Volunteer applications for the store are now open and interested students may apply from the WUSA website until Nov. 21.

The current hybrid form of classes would have impacted the amount of students able to access the store this term, leading to the decision for winter 2022 to be the store’s first full term. 

Despite the setbacks, Phillips is optimistic about the soft launch. 

“[The WUSA Sustainability Project is] trying to create an accessible, affordable, sustainability-driven service, and empower students to make sustainable choices…Now we’re on campus, we have opportunities to communicate with students and share this project more,” Phillips said. 

To stay up-to-date with the store and other WUSA Sustainability Project Initiatives, students are encouraged to follow @wusasustainability on Instagram and Facebook.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article suggested that the WUSA Sustainability Store had its soft launch in Fall 2021, however, it instead has a soft launch planned for Winter 2022. Imprint regrets this error.