News Column

The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y., On the Bright Side column

June 17, 2014

By Jessica Reynolds, The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y.

June 17--At last month's annual President's Commencement Dinner at the State University College of Technology at Delhi, college president Candace Vancko complimented a female student who said she was wearing "Regalia."

The word, meaning special decorative clothes worn for official ceremonies, isn't the moniker of the newest famous fashion designer or expensive brand; it's the name of SUNY Delhi's student-run thrift store, which will celebrate eleven years of operation in August.

The store is having a special bag sale this Wednesday to close out the season, according to Barbara Kaplan, assistant to the president and one of the store's "founding mothers."

"She was wearing this beautiful dress," Kaplan said, of the young woman at the president's dinner. "President Vancko told her she loved it and the girl excitedly said, 'I got it at Regalia!' It cost her a dollar."

Kaplan said the store has been "hugely" successful since opening Aug. 4, 2003. Located in the Farrell Student and Community Center on campus, Regalia items are sold for one dollar each and SUNY Delhi students receive a second item for free. Students from varying organizations, clubs, fraternities and sororities staff the store, she said.

But what makes the thrift store special, Kaplan said, is the fact that all proceeds go toward the college scholarship endowment. Since its opening, Regalia has earned more than $27,525 for student scholarships.

"We had no idea how well it would do financially," Kaplan said.

Thanks to student volunteers, Regalia is open from noon until 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday when college is in session. The students enjoy working at the store, Kaplan said.

They also enjoy shopping there, and frequently get excited over gently used "gems" they find. This "makes it all worthwhile," according to Kaplan.

"They come rushing into the store all the time saying 'I need a jacket' or 'I need dress pants!" Kaplan said. "Not everyone comes to college with professional clothing, but many need them for a presentation, project or class."

The idea for Regalia came about when someone came into the president's office wearing a "really nice jacket," which she had purchased at an Oneonta second-hand store, Kaplan said.

"We started talking about how nice it would be if Delhi had a thrift store and then about how we could have a store right on campus," Kaplan said, "And how all the money could benefit the college scholarship endowment. The conversation just went from there. And President Vancko fully supported the idea."

At this Wednesday's bag sale, shoppers will be able to fill a bag for $5, Kaplan said. The sale will take place at the store from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m and the community is invited.

Any clothes that aren't sold Wednesday will be donated to local organizations such as the Salvation Army, Kaplan said. A local pastor will be picking up some clothes after the sale to give to a refugee group in Ithaca.

Old shirts and fabric are also recycled as "bags of rags," which are given to college janitors, as well as the automotive, carpentry and veterinary science programs, Kaplan said.

"If items still have life in them, we're not going to just clog up the transfer stations with them," Kaplan said. "We try to keep passing it on."


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Source: Daily Star, The (Oneonta, NY)

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