Posted on Friday, November 11, 2022
This holiday season, students and faculty at Westminster College are hosting the 19th annual Alternative Gift Market, a nontraditional way for sharing meaningful gifts that make a positive impact.
The market, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in McKelvey Campus Center, allows students, alumni, families and community members to give a gift that inspires change through regional and international social service agencies.
The Alternative Gift Market will showcase the research and service learning of Westminster students in Inquiry, Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Science and Broadcast Communications courses as they educate visitors and advocate for global and regional social and environmental causes.
Shoppers will learn about efforts to restore native lands in New Mexico, to reuse medical supplies in Bolivia, to provide clean water in South Sudan, to support indigenous female farmers in Nepal and to promote literacy in Ethiopia, among other causes. Some of the international organizations students are supporting include Nurturing Native Lands (U.S.), Mobility Matters (Congo), Water for South Sudan, Ethiopia Reads, Burma Humanitarian Mission (health care) and Haiti Education Foundation.
“The Alternative Gift Market offers our students an opportunity to not only learn about cultures, nations and causes which often were previously invisible to them, but also to collect donations for a particular need for their fellow global and regional citizens and our natural world,” said Dr. Kristin Park, event coordinator and professor of sociology, adding that her Cultural Anthropology students were required to sponsor an organization advocating for indigenous populations or a country with a significant indigenous population.
Visitors also can support regional environmental and special needs organizations, including by purchasing honey from the Westminster Bee Company.
Westminster College’s market supports Alternative Gifts International (AGI)—a non-profit organization that inspires support for humanitarian and environmental causes—and represents service learning for its students.
“AGI partners with proven organizations operating in the U.S. and other nations,” said Park. “These organizations must address one or more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and AGI guarantees that the named cause receives 90% of each donated dollar. We are proud that the market also educates about and supports important regional and campus initiatives.”
Shoppers can make donations to specific organizations at a pay station at the Alternative Gift Market. Visitors can also support other causes from the more extensive catalog.
Sharon restaurant Haitian Sensation will provide pastries and coffee.
The Alternative Gift Market is open to the public. For more information, contact Park at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-946-7251.