The Illini Gadget Garage is inviting University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the surrounding community, to a recycled holiday craft workshop on December 3, from 1 to 3 PM. Check out the Facebook event for more information, including the Gadget Garage address, and some posts of examples crafts that you could make! There will be multiple types of reclaimed materials on hand (e.g. beads made from the keys of broken computer keyboards, plastic circuit sheets, wiring, etc.) for fashioning into ornaments, bracelets, holiday cards, and other handmade items. The event provides a family-appropriate activity that subtly teaches lessons about reuse, product stewardship, and a circular economy. The event is FREE (though donations are always welcome to provide continued funding for student staff and operational expenses), and light refreshments will be served. Besides crafting, you can ask questions about local electronics recycling options and talk about environmental and social impacts of electronics throughout their lifecycle, as well as learn about services, volunteer opportunities, and ways to incorporate project efforts in coursework. If you’ve heard about the Gadget Garage, but don’t have a device that needs repair, or feel uncertain about whether you could tackle repair, this is a great chance to learn more while having some fun!
Project staff also recently participated in the America Recycles Day Celebration at the Anita Purves Nature Center in Urbana, which focused on electronics recycling. Not only did they offer their repair services (and help a patron restore a CD player to working order by showing them how to clean the laser reading lens!), but they also engaged the many children in attendance by making bracelets and necklaces from computer key beads while talking to parents and guardians about the project, and the importance of repair, reuse, and recycling of electronics. Madeleine Wolske, a graduate student from the iSchool who coordinates volunteers and oversees repair activities with the public, appeared on CiLiving to promote the event. Check out this clip of the segment:
The Gadget Garage will continue having open hours until the last week in December, at which time is will close for the winter break. Spring 2017 open hours are yet to be determined and will be posted to the project site and social networks when available. The Illini Gadget Garage is a collaboration of ISTC’s Sustainable Electronics Initiative, the iSchool, and the School of Art + Design. Support for the project is provided by the Student Sustainability Committee and various corporate and individual donors. Questions about the project may be addressed to Joy Scrogum of ISTC.