SHU fashion aids positive causes

The Garbage Bag Gala, a charitable event that profits the Salvation Army, kicked off the weekend of Sept. 10. A day later the Communications club held its second Mission ImPROMible event, which gives young women an opportunity to buy formal wear at discounted prices.

The Communications club held its second Mission ImPROMible event. The idea was hatched by junior Kelli Alfieri in May 2010.

“I saw how many girls in the area couldn’t afford to buy a designer prom or homecoming dress,” said Alfieri.

The organization sells donated prom dresses from local stores such as The Exquisite Bride, The Winners, Harper’s Bazaar, Sisters II, the White Orchid and The Gown Company at very affordable prices for college and high school girls in the area.

The sale this year took place in Cecilian Hall at Seton Hill University (SHU).

Brittany Graft, a sophomore at Hempfield High School who was shopping for her Sweet 16 dress said she would “definitely come back again.”

“I like it. It’s easy to get my pageant dresses. I go up on stage and I have just as nice a dress as girls who paid a lot more,” said Hope Stangroom, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown after buying a gown at Mission ImPROMible.

Last year, Mission ImPROMible benefitted Mission Honduras International, donating $5000 to build a schoolhouse in Liberia. This year, they decided to help a little closer to home with plans to use the money for projects around SHU. Students may have noticed the small fields of wildflowers on campus thanks to project Flower Power. This year Mission ImPROMible raised a total of $2,165 for these projects.

Although Garbage Bag Gala was run by the Jeannette Salvation Army, SHU faculty were involved. Dana Elmendorf, assistant professor of art therapy, was on the host committee with Marilyn Fox Lewis, campus minister for Campus Ministry. Many students also participated in the event as both designers and models of the dresses and tuxedos.

“My favorite part of the evening was when students were posing in the downtown windows for passing drivers, as if they were mannequins,” said Elmendorf.

The Gala, held at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, Pa. Participants are able to design and/or model dresses made completely out of duct tape, newspaper and of course – garbage bags.

Part of the evening consisted of voting on the outfits created.  Prizes were awarded for “The Classiest” and “The Trashiest.”

“It was great. It went further than just doing something fun. It helped raise money for people in need,” said freshman Lakin Weakland, who designed a garbage bag dress.

Garbage Bag Gala successfully raised $1,000 for the Salvation Army. “While many people told me they couldn’t make the event, they thought it was wonderful that students were involved and they felt really good knowing that students care about their community,” Elmendorf said.

Both events plan to continue annually. There will be another Garbage Bag Gala hopefully next September. Mission ImPROMible will be having a sale for the prom season in February.

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