How good is Good Will?

The average U.S. citizen throws away around 80 pounds of clothing and textiles annually. On Saturday, November 3rd Professor Victor Perez took his Honors Intro to Sociology class on a field trip to the New Castle Goodwill donation and distribution center. In class, Professor Perez’s students are studying the fast fashion industry of new clothing and the world of abundant used clothing that it has helped to create. As Professor Perez said, “this was the students’ opportunity to see the life of used clothing after it is donated.” He chose this particular Goodwill because it is the “hub” of all the Goodwill stores in the region. Upon arrival, the class was given a tour of the warehouse by the center’s manager, Aaron Jackson, and his second in command. The warehouse had several rooms all filled with large bins stacked on top of each other. There were six by four feet bales of clothes everywhere. This tour illustrated how Goodwill accepts clothing, electronics, and other used items and moves them along their way to recycling, local sale, and even international sale. Many of the students were surprised by the enormous amount of clothing there was, especially considering that this time of year is Goodwill’s lighter season. As student Samwell Cleary stated, “the experience in many ways painted two pictures of the significant positive impact Goodwill has had on many lives, but also the problems that come from the sheer mass of donations.” According to Cleary, donations often cause a significant amount of waste and can negatively impact the economic production systems of the third world countries they are sent to.” This trip was an informative and impactful experience for Professor Perez’s students by giving them the opportunity to experience first-hand the material that they have learned in the classroom.