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Diversity, equity and inclusion commission fights the cold with winter clothing drive 

MOORHEAD – The diversity, equity and inclusion commission (DEIC) partnered with the Center for Holistic Health to host their annual winter clothing drive on campus. 

DEIC and Basic Needs Coordinator Parker Erickson put out a call for winter clothing donations in advance and had been receiving donations from staff, faculty and the student body leading up to the clothing drive on Nov. 9. 

The clothing drive was held in the Parke Student Leadership Center. Inside, students were able to shop through racks of coats, as well as tables of winter mittens, gloves and hats for the upcoming cold season. 

Siam Shimul, a member of DEIC who helped organize the event, said the environment surrounding the event was positive, with both domestic and international students coming to take part in the clothing drive. 

“We had a whole line before we even started, and it was great to see people actually utilize the resources that we put out there,” Shimul said. 

Elijah Amelse, Alissa Edjacin and Siam Shimul. Lauren Melton/The Concordian

Alissa Edjacin, a senior at Concordia, said DEIC has put on the clothing drive for the past three years. Edjacin serves as DEIC’s Education Commissioner and was in charge of the event in 2022. 

“We have students coming from all over the world and they need support and assistance,” Edjacin said. 

Last year, the clothing drive was able to give away all of the items they had stocked for students and even went out and bought more clothing for those who were not able to find items available in their size or were gone by the time they had arrived.  

The clothing drive is not just about providing students with proper winter attire, but also educating them on how to prepare for winter, said Edjacin. 

“A section of the winter clothing drive teaches students about what is good winter clothing to own. By doing that we’re also advocating for people who are less fortunate or do not have the resources to get winter clothing because it’s really expensive. We’re just trying to provide that resource for students on campus,” Edjacin said.  

On campus, the majority of clothing donations come from staff and faculty. DEIC also has a clothing fund dedicated to purchasing new clothes from stores in the area, such as Burlington Coat Factory.  

Edjacin, Shimul and Erickson all acknowledged there is a stigma surrounding used and donated clothes that they wanted to reduce on campus, hoping to encourage students to ask for help and be open to accepting these items.  

“People have a stigma around used clothes and that feels like it’s kind of going away this year,” Shimul said. “This event continues bringing in more people every year and everyone can benefit from it.” 

“It shouldn’t be shameful,” Erickson said. “I have found myself in that position as a student in need myself and it kind of takes a bit away from you. I hope no student operates under that mentality that they shouldn’t take a coat or hat because someone else might need it, we have such an extensive amount of inventory that there is enough for everyone.” 

Edjacin said boots and coats are the items least donated to the clothing drive each year and they can always use more. DEIC often ends up with a small number of coats in a limited size range and buys winter coats with their funding to make up the difference.  

Alongside the clothing drive, students can go to Erickson and the Center for Holistic Health for help coordinating additional basic needs such as food support, health and insurance questions, budgeting, mental health resources, personal care, finances and more. 

“I want people to get comfortable with me coordinating their basic needs. It’s always my goal to be as welcoming and open as possible,” Erickson said. 

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