University of Thriftsburgh: A Close-Knit Community

Issue Date: 
August 24, 2015

The University of Thriftsburgh—Pitt’s student-run thrift store—will hold a Welcome Back Sidewalk Sale in front of the O’Hara Student Center on Sunday, Aug. 30. The sale is one of many activities and events that Thriftsburgh will host this fall. 

Shoppers peruse clothing in Thriftsburgh. (Photo by Emily O'Donnell)Thriftsburgh was born as a result of a sustainability-related class project in the spring of 2014. Cofounders are Anna Greenberg, a Pitt junior, and Paul Heffernan, who graduated in April 2015. The students developed the project for a year before the store opened in March 2015. 

“There are all these relevant issues tied to how we produce our clothing,” Greenberg says, citing concerns about the textile industry’s effect on workers’ health and the environment. 

“We really didn’t like how a lot of excess stuff was being thrown out at the end of the school year. So the group formed around encouraging students to think about reuse and about where their clothing comes from—and to basically see the value in something that’s secondhand.”

When the store opened, it made more than $500 from 60 purchases its first day. Most of the initial inventory came from Pitt’s Give a Thread campaign, a region-wide clothing collection effort sponsored by the office of PittServes. Now, Thriftsburgh receives most of its donations directly from students. 

The store is self-sustaining and anything beyond expenses is given to the Pitt Green Fund to help other sustainability projects get off the ground.

The store, which is based in Room 111 of the O’Hara Student Center, currently accepts payment via Panther Funds only. 

Sophomore Maura Kay, one of Thriftsburgh’s two paid store coordinators, is looking forward to the coming year. “We haven’t had a fall semester yet; we haven’t had a winter yet. So we really want to ride that out and see how that goes.” She’s anticipating good things, introducing the store to a new incoming class, and showing upperclassmen that the store is here to stay. 

Hail to Thrift!