Burnaby students fight high price of prom with 'Promject'

It was a modest beginning, but a group of Alpha Secondary leadership students pushed back against the high price of prom last week.

The group of Grade 10 and 12 students organized Promject, a sale of second-hand dresses, dress shirts and pants, shoes, ties and other accessories last Thursday.

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The event drew about 25 people, six of whom walked away with dresses for less than $30, and the evening raised about $177 for Vancouver Rape Relief.

“The Promject was quite successful considering it was the first year and my peers and I built it from the ground up,” said Claire Chateauneuf, one of five organizers.

What set their event apart from other initiatives like the Cinderella Project, which is aimed at helping low-income students, was that it was aimed at all grads.

“That’s one thing about our event, we didn’t want it to be like a pity party kind of thing. We just wanted it open to everyone,” said organizer Mariah Provencal. “Prom dresses are not affordable most of the time. They range from $200 to $1,000, and it’s ridiculous because we should be spending money on things that are a little more relevant, like saving up for school and stuff.”

Opening the sale to all grads works to de-stigmatize second-hand formal wear for everyone, and that’s good for the environment as well as the pocketbook, according to the organizers.

“Usually people buy one of these dresses and it sits in their closet for years and is never touched,” Provencal said. “It’s sad.”

The Alpha students hope to grow the event into a district-wide affair, possibly spearheaded by leadership classes in Burnaby’s other high schools.

Despite being two years away from their own prom, the two Grade 10s in the group are happy they’ve helped get the idea off the ground.

“We are involved so we can carry it on for the next years because this is definitely going to be a problem for future grades too,” Grade 10 student Alana Leung said. “It’s definitely not something just these Grade 12s are going to face. I don’t want to pay $300 for clothes. No thanks.”

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