Winter clothes drive

What: Clean up your closet

When: Wednesday through Friday

Where: UMC, Rec Center, C4C and First Presbyterian in Boulder

For more: http://facebook.com/CleanUpYourCloset

U niversity of Colorado students Shannon Kelly, Jeremy Fabatz, Ted Schmitt and Hayden La Rue are hosting a winter clothing drive this week inspired by the holiday spirit -- and a class assignment they're hoping to ace.

The students teamed up for a project in professor Mike Zizzi's Writing on Science and Society class that required them to find a problem in the community and work toward a solution.

"These classes have lots of different kinds of majors, so I try to leave some latitude there for them to find something that connects to their personal interests," Zizzi said. "One thing I've learned about these hands-on learning assignments is if they don't care with some passion about their projects, they don't come out as well."

The students said it didn't take long for them to settle on one of the more visible issues in the Boulder community -- homelessness.

"It's something that I think everyone sees, homeless people freezing on the streets in the winter," Kelly said. "We're just asking for clothes that you don't wear anymore so it seemed easily solvable."


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The students said they don't expect to solve Boulder's homeless problem during the three-day clothing drive, but they're hoping the giving spirit that often comes during the holiday season will help them provide warmer clothes for a few locals.

Organizers will accept gently used winter clothing, including scarves, hats, gloves, jackets and sweaters, in three donation boxes around campus, plus one at Boulder's First Presbyterian Church. Campus boxes are located next to the elevator on the second floor of the University Memorial Center, at the Recreation Center's east entrance and in the lobby of the Center for Community.

CU-Boulder students Ted Schmitt, left, Shannon Kelly and Jeremy Fabatz look for a place to put a clothing donation box at the UMC on Wednesday. The
CU-Boulder students Ted Schmitt, left, Shannon Kelly and Jeremy Fabatz look for a place to put a clothing donation box at the UMC on Wednesday. The students are collecting gently used winter clothing donations for the homeless as part of a class project. (CLIFF GRASSMICK)

The students will be accepting donations through Friday night and will hand out the clothing on Saturday during the soup kitchen at the church.

The group is hoping to collect at least 10 hats, 10 sweaters, 10 pairs of gloves and 10 jackets by Friday night. Though their goal might seem small, the students said they're hoping the drive will exceed their expectations.

"It definitely started out as a class project, but if we end up getting a ton of donations maybe it will inspire us to keep going with this," Schmitt said. "If it ends up being a flop though, I think we'll probably just move on and hopefully we helped a couple of people."

Getting students to donate their time and money is often difficult this time of year, the students said. Between buying holiday gifts and spending most of their time studying for upcoming finals, many students are tightening their budgets and schedules, but the group is hoping clothing donations will be easier for their peers.

"Students can just drop some clothes off on their way to class so it's a quick and easy way to help," Kelly said. "I mean, we're just asking for stuff they don't want anymore so hopefully they can clean out their closet and help some people out at the same time."

-- Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.