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  • Madelynn Lockwood

Fontana founds Griff’s Thrifts

By: Madelynn Lockwood, Features Editor

On Nov. 1, Griff’s Thrifts had its “soft opening” as Canisius’s first and only campus thrift store. It is located in the basement of Palisano, the previous location of Petey’s Pantry. Genevieve Fontana is the mastermind behind this new sustainable effort (and essentially all other sustainability events on campus), in collaboration with USA Sustainability Committee and Phi Sigma Sigma.

This thrift store operates off of donations, meaning that students can shop in the thrift store for free! The initial influx of clothing came from the remainder of clothing from last spring’s clothing swap and other donations. Each semester, students can take 10 pieces of clothing: if they are interested in taking more, students have the opportunity to donate and receive a credit for each item they donate. This is intended to keep the cycle of clothing moving without the store having too much of a surplus or deficit at any given time. Any student can bring donations down to the thrift store at any time that it is open.

Griff’s Thrifts will be having a grand opening event in the future, but until then, the hours are determined by the volunteer’s time availability. Generally, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., you can find a lovely volunteer ready to accept and sort your donations, or you can look through the racks and shelves to see if your new favorite outfit is waiting there for you. I would love to gatekeep Griff’s Thrifts, but I simply cannot because I love my loyal readers far too much. This week, I was able to find a brand new Calvin Klein puffer vest (new with tags!) in my size, which is tough to come by in a larger women’s size. I was also able to grab a short sleeve knit top and a cute oversized crewneck. All of my bragging is simply to say that checking out Griff’s Thrifts is going to be well worth it.

Fontana is instrumental in many of the recent sustainability efforts happening on campus. As previously mentioned, she orchestrated a clothing swap during the last two spring semesters where students were able to bring in gently used clothing to swap for other items. She added, “The Sustainability Committee and Phi Sigma Sigma have held a clothing swap for two years in a row now during Earth Week. We saw how much the community enjoyed the swap that our goal was to make this a permanent location on campus.” Griff’s Thrifts is providing a sustainable and budget friendly way to add new pieces to your wardrobe.

This is part of something that this writer likes to refer to as “the Genevieve effect.” She holds other positions on campus that allow her to continue to have an impact on campus. She is USA’s sustainability chair, Phi Sigma Sigma’s community impact chairwoman and the Laudato Si’ student representative. Fontana was also instrumental in the new OZZI box system that has changed the way that our dining hall serves take out food and significantly reduces the paper waste that our campus was creating with take out containers. She hosts campus cleanups multiple times throughout the year and has helped beautify our campus with the planting of trees, creation of pollinator gardens and the additional pushes you see around campus pertaining to gardening. She is even hosting a new podcast promoting different eco-heros and -heroines that are impacting Canisius. And these are only some of the endless works she has dedicated to this campus.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering in Griff’s Thrifts, there is a QR code on Today@Canisius, or you can email for more information. For more information on Genevieve’s and Canisius’s sustainability efforts, you can follow @canisius_ecoheroines on instagram.

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