Student Union Building
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264
1031 N. Academic Way,
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Making a Difference Through Service
Written by Becca Johnson
Fashion and social justice: how does one tie two diverse topics together? For University of Idaho senior Kat Swick, the answer comes in a melding of her two passions.
"I want to create a clothing company that provides a line of fun, unique, fashion designs and accessories that somehow gives back and contributes to the world," says Swick.
Swick found the meaning and reason for volunteerism on a journey that started her senior year of high school when she went on a Hurricane Katrina relief trip and helped rebuild homes.
“I saw a need and chose to attend to it. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and has progressed into a changed way of looking at the world and living my life,” says Swick.
Her volunteerism efforts have continued throughout her time at the University of Idaho.
Swick will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in Clothing, Textiles and Design with an emphasis in Art and Design, along with a minor in Business. But her first passion is focused on a greater calling to serve humanity and address global issues.
Swick has been actively involved with local volunteer efforts through her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, and national charity organizations. She has been especially passionate about her work with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian charity organization that is dedicated to serving and changing the lives of millions of impoverished and oppressed children, families and communities around the globe.
“I want to make a better life for them, give them the chance I had,” says Swick. “If people would become aware of the issues in our world and join together to fight them, we could change our world and the lives of the oppressed, broken-hearted and enslaved.”
This last year, Swick brought World Vision's T-shirt campaign – called the “Human Wrong” – back from a conference. The campaign features eight shirts that represent children that have been pulled into human trafficking.
"The campaign is to raise awareness for the Child Protection Compact Act that is in the U.S. House of Representatives right now," says Swick. "If this bill is passed, it would create a huge impact on stopping the third largest criminal industry in the world – human trafficking, which is modern day slavery."
Swick says she focused on this volunteer effort this year to bring awareness about the topic to the university. “Throughout my life I hope to work first-hand in the United States and abroad with issues such as human trafficking," she says.
In addition to her passion for global issues, Swick believes her passion for global issues can feed into her degree. "Fashion should not just make a statement, but be a statement that is fighting for something great," she says.
In addition to her academic work, she garnered hands-on work and international experience. Swick served on the Commons and Union Art Board and started the first university's fashion show. And last year, she studied abroad at the London College of Fashion and received a certificate in Fashion Design.
“I've had an amazing four years here. College has been a great opportunity for me to find my talents and strengths, as well as my weaknesses,” Swick says. “Whatever I do, I feel as if I have received a broad spectrum of skills and knowledge throughout all my courses and time in my sorority that will equip me for any job, whether or not it’s within my major.”
A fourth-generation Vandal, Swick was raised in a strong Christian home, and believes the values and Bible stories that were instilled in her growing up are a continual influence.
“My background, my family, my church family and friends have inspired me to make a difference in the world," she says. "Who knows – I might just change the world one shoe at a time with this fashion degree of mine!”