Students upcycle treasures


(Left to right) Melissa Lenczewski, director for the Institute for Environment, Sustainability and Energy, and community members Heather Wheeler, Alex Chapman and Jill Cottone make crafts out of recycled materials Tuesday night at Tapa la Luna, 226 E. Lincoln Highway, in a fundraiser for the Green Lens Environmental Film Festival.

By Allison Krecek

Fashion is constantly changing, but instead of going out to spend money on a new jacket, students learned how to upcycle Tuesday.

When upcycling, participants take something old and used, like an old shirt or dress, and use that to make something new. The educational event Tuesday was hosted at Tapa La Luna, 226 E. Lincoln Highway.

Gillian King-Cargile, Outreach and Engagement communications coordinator, said she thought the event would be a good way to show people how to upcycle.

“It was a great way to help people realize that all the things that they have laying around their house don’t have to be thrown away. They can be turned into something new, and we can show people a lot of different ways to create things into treasurers,” King-Cargile said.

A few things that were made were gift boxes — to put jewelry in — and bracelets, barrettes and broaches. All these items were made of old fabric and boxes and held together by glue.

Those who attended were taught how to make the jewelry by Mary Baker, Outreach and Engagement associate. Baker was intrigued by the idea of upcycling and learned how to make the jewelry and boxes through her own method.

“I like to design things on the computer, so I usually draw things on the computer and then print them out and cut them out and then test them out, but mainly through trial and error and trying to figure out to make it better,” Baker said.

While some may have struggled to get the hang of making jewelry in the beginning, most enjoyed their time. Melissa Lenczewski, director for the Institute for Environment, Sustainability and Energy, was happy to meet new people and make her broach.

“I came here because of two reasons. One, it is supporting the film festival, which I’m all for that; and two is learning how to upcycle clothing and make really cool things for the holidays for people,” Lenczewski said.

If students and staff missed the event and would like to learn, Baker will show people how to create jewelry again 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at O’Leary’s Restaurant and Pub, 260 E. Lincoln Highway. Those attending must RSVP. Baker and King-Cargile encourage people to come to learn how to save money and make things.

“Not only are you turning old things into new designs, but you are turning old fabric into broaches to put on old hats or your older dresses,” King-Cargile said. “So maybe you don’t need a new jacket maybe you need a new broach for your jacket to make it pop.”