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University of Missouri

Clothes Call

Service fraternity collects clothes to be resold.

mizzou apparel

Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Mizzou students tend to be pretty stylish dressers. In fact, if you want to observe the fashion trends of America’s youth, a college campus would be a good place to start.

Sigma Rho Sigma (SRS) parked a clothing donation bin in the MU Student Center basement starting in February 2012. It is a veritable garment treasure chest emptied weekly by fraternity members.

“Some of the stuff that gets thrown in there still has the tag on it, so don’t tell anyone’s parents,” whispers Columbian Chase Zeilenga, former SRS president.

About 1,500 pounds of clothing per semester go to Upscale Resale in Columbia where the clothes are sold to benefit the Assistance League of Mid-Missouri. Clothes also go to True North women’s shelter and Operation School Bell, which provides winter clothes to children.

Because young people tend to look up to college-age students — especially when it comes to style — the clothes have an intrinsic cool factor.

“Our clientele is across the board, so we get a lot of college students, too,” says Carol Hurt, MPA ’89, Upscale Resale shop manager. “We also get a lot of Mizzou items [from SRS], and every September, we have a big Mizzou sale of sweatshirts, T-shirts, jackets — anything that says MU.”

Sigma Rho Sigma, a service fraternity that dates to at least the 1970s, was defunct for nearly a year until Zeilenga and six friends revived it in fall 2011. The now-thriving chapter has about 40 members, and the group has donated time to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and Second Chance, a pet adoption service.