Student event discourages consumerism

Photo+courtesy+Kyle+Luck

Photo courtesy Kyle Luck

Senior Kyle Luck doesn’t want you to buy anything this Christmas. Instead, this Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., he and a group of friends will do something that runs contrary to the consumeristic season — they’re going to give things away.

“Buy Nothing Christmas,” a project Luck is coordinating as part of an internship with Geez, a Christian anti-consumerist magazine, will be an opportunity for students and friends of the college to donate things they don’t need and pick up stuff for free. At the end of the event, any unclaimed items will be donated.

The event is sponsored by the Social Justice Coalition, Theology Forum and Students for Compassionate Living.

“The whole idea is to try to separate consumerism and Christmas in North America, which have become interrelated in a way that Geez and myself find problematic,” Luck explained. “We’ve become convinced that we desperately need more stuff.”

Luck got connected with Geez magazine during his Jubilee Fellows project in Winnipeg, Canada, when he found himself living next door to the magazine’s editors.

Luck hopes the event will challenge people to rethink their choices this holiday season. “The idea behind that is that there’s a freedom to it I find myself looking into my closet and thinking how much of this don’t I use at all,” Luck said.

The event is also connected to Luck’s Jubilee Fellows experience.

“When you come back as part of that program you’re asked to continue ministry of some form on campus that overlaps with both your gifts and your interests,” he said.

For him, those two combined in “Buy Nothing Christmas.”

He admits the ministry is unconventional.

“This is probably not what you’d consider a stereotypical view of ministry,” he said. “But I do think that in calling people away from the dominant narrative of consumerism, it reshapes our consciousness of what Christmas is, calling people back to the narrative of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Students interested in participating should stop by the library lobby throughout the morning on Friday, with a mug for coffee or eggnog. For more information or to volunteer, they can contact Luck or his collaborators Nate Slauer and Briella Cumings.

“We’re hoping that this is something that will catch on at Calvin,” said Luck.

“Maybe you’ll walk away with no items, or maybe with less than you came with,” said Luck. “And maybe that’s one step closer to associating Christmas with the birth of Jesus.”