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A warm coat for all students

Heather Poechman (Artsci’17) got the idea for the Queen’s Winter Coat Exchange after she came back from an exchange in Morocco and began working as a peer adviser in the International Programs Office. The extremes of Canadian weather often came up in conversations with other students, both domestic and international, and she realized that there was a need among students for affordable or free winter gear.

Heather Poechman (Artsci'17) started the Queen's Winter Coat Exchange, which operates out of the Room of Requirement in the John Deutsch University Centre. (University Communications)


“For international students, it’s already a big expense to come and study in Canada. To add hundreds of dollars of winter gear to their budgets is a big burden,” says Ms. Poechman. “Sometimes, students will say they ‘have lots of sweaters,’ or they’ll ‘tough it out,’ instead of buying a coat. That sparked the idea of starting the Winter Coat Exchange.”


Now in its first year, the exchange offers coats, hats, mittens, and scarves – anything washable – to all students, both domestic and international, for free. Ms. Poechman is collecting donations for the program – lightly used winter coats and accessories in good condition – from individuals and businesses. She has already received a donation of a new coat from Kingston clothing store Cloth.


“The response has been really great so far, and I’m hoping that as the really cold weather sets in over the next month or so, we will receive more donations,” she says.


“The idea is that students can have the gear until it’s no longer needed. Exchange students may only need a coat for four months, but others may need it for four years. Either way, we simply ask them to return it when they don’t need it anymore.”


The Winter Coat Exchange operates out of the Queen’s Room of Requirement, Room 238, in the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC). All donations can be dropped off at the Room of Requirement (open Monday-Friday, 8 am-midnight) and students looking for gear can drop by anytime during those hours. Ms. Poechman is also happy to collect donations from units or individuals across campus. Contact her via email at heather_poechman@zoho.com.


More information about the exchange and the Room of Requirement is available on Facebook.