Two individuals converse while a girl wears a suit made from 500 bags.

Students re-evaluate sustainability with Reuse and Repair Fair

Sam Miller
April 27, 2017

Nearly 500 students filled Ping Recreation Center and the front lawn on March 29 with one focus: learning how to live more sustainably.

The Reuse and Repair Fair, sponsored by Zero Waste Initiative and supported by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Sugar Bush Foundation and Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) provided students several opportunities to reevaluate the way they use and discard items. Students got hands-on experience from the Office of Sustainability and its EcoReps on turning old t-shirts into tote bags, managing bike repairs, upcycling used clothing and even maneuvering an obstacle course made from recycled materials.

Many community nonprofits and programs, such as Athens-Hocking Recycling Center and ReUse Industries, were also at the event to show students how to take the next step in becoming sustainable by demonstrating the obscure items that are recyclable and the beneficial aspects to reusing old clothing and everyday items. Others focused on taking the desire for change and sustainability into the community to contribute to the common good.

Patagonia’s Worn Wear Team helped individuals with repairs to old clothing and other items, such as sleeping bags. The team emphasized the importance of appreciating what students had by passing out stickers and clothing patches with the phrase, “If it’s broke, fix it!”

“The Reuse and Repair Fair was a huge success for everyone involved,” Kate Blyth, senior student coordinator for OHIO Zero Waste, said. “Over a dozen campus and community groups were represented, all of whom provide services that support the growth of sustainability in our community in various ways. We hope attendees learned something new and that the partnerships established will continue to grow.”

The event ended in the evening with a free showing of “Landfill Harmonic” as part of the Spring Sustainability Film Series at the Athena. This documentary is the inspirational story of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, an internationally recognized Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage.