Amanda Morris | News Editor
From 3 to 8 p.m. this afternoon, the Wheaton College Justice Coalition will be hosting the fourth annual Advent Market. Thirteen organizations will be present at the event, which will be hosted in the Meyer Science Center. Along with the vendors, there will be live music, cookie decorating, the opportunity to make an ornament and a photo booth.
Throughout this fall semester, the Justice Coalition has been busy planning the details of this year’s market. Wheaton students, staff and faculty were encouraged to sign up organizations with which they are associated, using an online form. “We like for the vendors to represent charities who are close to the hearts of Wheaton students and faculty, so we reach out to the Wheaton community via email and ask them to encourage organizations to sign up to vendors at the market,” said Julia Wittrock, the events coordinator on the Justice Coalition cabinet.
Jonathan Bryant, chair of the Justice Coalition cabinet, explained that many of the items that will be sold at the market have been crafted either by “skilled artisans” abroad or refugees living here in DuPage County. “The money used in buying these goods will help these artisans to make a living and support their families,” Bryant said.
According to Wittrock, organizations such as Re:new, Sole Hope and Global Bag Project will be present at the event. Re:new is an organization that was started by a Wheaton alumna and employs refugees living in DuPage County by making bags and other sewn items. “Re:new provides these women with stable, yet flexible, employment and also with community as they settle into the United States,” Wittrock said. Sole Hope, an organization that teaches people living in Africa how to make shoes, will be sponsoring a shoe-cutting party at the market and will also be selling items such as bags and scarves. Global Bag Project will be selling a variety of bags ranging from reusable shopping bags to clutch purses that have been made around the world through fair labor practices.
While Wheaton hosts other sales such as the Ten Thousand Villages sale or the Graduate School Holiday Bazaar, Bryant explained that the Advent Market is different in the way that it, a student-led initiative, partners with multiple outside non-profits, instead of partnering with one single organization. Bryant added that although partnering with non-profits is the most important part of the event, the Advent Market also serves as a Christmas party of sorts for members of the Wheaton campus. “We want students to be able to buy Christmas gifts from awesome organizations, while having a great time decorating cookies, making ornaments and listening to music,” Bryant said.
Wittrock encouraged students to attend this event because it will serve as a “great way” for them to benefit from the organizations present at the market while having the opportunity to buy “meaningful” gifts for their family and friends. “Purchasing high-quality crafts causes us to think more about where our products come from and avoid some of the consumerism that can be pervasive at this time of year,” Wittrock said. “The Advent Market is also an awesome opportunity to partake in many of the joyful Christmas traditions we all love, such as decorating Christmas cookies!”