Students sell homemade wares for Earth Day

APRIL 21, 2013

Paintings of Ron Burgundy, handmade cups and crocheted creatures filled tables outside the amphitheater behind Hibbs as part of Earth Day last Friday. Students and vendors gathered to sell homemade crafts, jewelry and other wares as part of the second annual Earth Day Bazaar.

Sponsored by Green Unity of VCU, the event allowed students to buy and sell homemade products by some of the more hands-on students of VCU.

Melissa Lesh, a senior painting and printmaking student and president of Green Unity, said this year’s bazaar had more vendors than the last year’s event, with 34 vendors compared to last year’s 26.

“The bazaar is a place to engage in creativity, sustainability and community,” she said. “We wanted to have more commerce on campus and connect with students.”

The student vendors assembled their stands in hopes of selling their handmade goods. Each stand had its own unique merchandise, ranging from handcrafted jewelry to homemade soaps. One vendor sold coffee from Jamaica while playing reggae records at his stand, and another sold hand-decorated hula hoops.

Students could also bring old T-shirts to the event and learn how to recycle them into shopping bags.

“I’m really happy to see all kinds of things,” Lesh said. “It’s a real diverse array of people. It shows a real dedication to the event.”

Tereza McInnes, a sophomore international studies and French major, had a table covered in crochet animals and objects, including crochet elephants, gnomes and cacti.

“I get struck by imagination,” McInnes said. “I crochet what I want to crochet and that’s how I decide on what I sell.”

The bazaar was not just a chance for VCU students to sell their crafts. Some people came to the plaza with other items to sell or promote. These groups included a technology repair stand that offered to fix laptops and iPhones. International social justice sophomore Amelia Kirby promoted her plan to spend 10 weeks this summer biking from North Carolina to California, with pit stops to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity.

Another notable group at the bazaar was the RVA Beard League, a group of individuals who sport impressive beards and mustaches, promoted their upcoming championship competition.

“VCU is a great place to interact with Richmond, and selling T-shirts is a great way to get the word out,” said RVA Beard League member Chad Roberts.

Green Unity, who sponsors the event, does hold other markets for their homegrown food, but Lesh said she would love to see the bazaar become a more frequent event, whether it be a few times a semester or in a permanent location.

“I’d like to expand this into an ongoing space,” Lesh said. “If we can create a space indoors, then students and young entrepreneurs get their work out and connect to their community.”

This article was originally featured in The Commonwealth Times.

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