EDITOR’S NOTE: WTVR.com is partnering with the “iPadJournos” mobile and social media journalism project at VCU’s School of Mass Communications. Students from the project reported the following story.
RICHMOND, Va. – Rams Bazaar has taken local crafting to new heights with a lot of of “green” sustainability mixed in for Earth Day weekend. The VCU market drew flocks of students and Fan residents to the university’s student plaza.
The event was started a year ago by VCU’s Green Unity organization, which focuses on making the university environment more sustainable. The first market took place last spring during Earth Day weekend. Built around buying and selling of “green” products, the event has been back every semester since.
VCU senior Melissa Lesh, the executive officer of the Rams Community Bazaar, hopes to use the platform to show the community other ways of being “green.”
“A big goal for this event is sustainability,” Lesh said. “I think we believe through a local economy, through a local commerce we can really strengthen our community in general.”
The bazaar had around 30 tables set up on Friday afternoon, selling various goods from plants and clothes to jewelry throughout VCU’s student plaza.
Richmond resident Bill Lemmond was one of the vendors. His station had a group of VCU students putting together handbags made out of old t-shirts. Lemmond, a former VCU student himself, saw this as an idea to make inexpensive gifts.
“I think it’s a nice idea. Just look at it, it’s got something for everybody,” said Lemmond.
The bazaar also allowed vendors to showcase their locally made goods.
“I think it’s great to buy local, and also most of these vendors are students, so I think that that’s a really great way to support your community,” said VCU student Brittany Tilley, who was showcasing her jewelry at Tilley’s Threads booth.
Each of the tables highlighted the environmentally cautious effort the market promoted. For shoppers at the event, it was a refreshing concept.
“It’s really important,” VCU student Cara Vu said about the green movement. “We need to keep in mind that this is our home, we have to take care of it. Always be aware, we don’t want to live in a nasty area. Keep the water clean and the air clean.”
This is also Lesh’s goal for Rams Bazaar.
“So really making people understand that sustainability isn’t just recycling, but it’s also strengthening our local economy, having low impact, talking about having low carbon emissions when everything is local stores,” Lesh said. “A lot of our vendors are (repurposing) items. Taking essentially trash and making them into really beautiful valuable things.”
Lesh sees Rams Bazaar as a venture that has the potential of sprouting out to more frequent settings.
“Our hopes for this is that it becomes more of a regular market. Richmond, in my mind, has a need for an avenue that supports young entrepreneurs and young businesses,” said Lesh. “So, if we can provide that avenue for them to sell on that regular basis, that’s my goal.”
This story was reported by the “iPadJournos” mobile and social media journalism project, a cooperation between WTVR.com and VCU’s School of Mass Communications.