‘Up-cycling’ event promotes sustainability

Ellie Phillips

Today from 10-11.30 a.m. and again from 2-4 p.m., Grand Valley State University leaders will host a “Crafting for the Community” event in rooms 2215 and 2216 of the Kirkhof Center as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events.

The event is community service centered, and participants will make crafts through “up-cycling,” or the process of reusing a material in a fashion that does not downgrade its quality, such as turning used items into something else useful, which in turn keeps items out of landfills through waste elimination.

According to the Sustainable Community Development Initiative website, the items will be donated to local shelters, healthcare organizations and direct service non-profits after the event.

The term up-cycling first appeared in William McDonough’s book, ‘Cradle to Cradle’, and many of these up-cycling crafts are rather unusual, involving making dresses out of pillowcases, creating woven sleeping mats out of plastic shopping bags, using old sweaters to make gloves, and diapers out of used flannel. This process differs from recycling in that recycling often downgrades the quality of the product, and only prolongs the life of the material, which will eventually wear out its ability to be useful, and eventually end up in a landfill.

The event is open to children ages five and older, and all children under 16 are required to be accompanied and supervised by an adult. Registration is required, though walk-ins will be accepted if there is extra space available. It is requested that those who attend stay for the entire length of the project.

Supplies for the sessions will be provided, though donations of more supplies are welcome, and will be gratefully accepted. These donations may be brought to the Women and Gender Studies main office, in room 227 of Lake Ontario Hall, prior to the event.

Registration for both sessions is available at both locations.

Visit www.gvsu.edu/mlk or www.gvsu.edu/sustainability for more information.
[email protected]