Using the mantra “If it’s broke, fix it,” UNH hosted the “Repair Fair” Tuesday which allowed students to bring old clothing and items to be repaired in order to promote sustainability.
The event was featured as part of Patagonia’s “Worn Wear” tour, in which the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) was tasked by Patagonia to pick 21 different schools across the country focused on the “Zero Waste” concept. UNH alumnus and founder of PLAN, Alex Freid, also founded the student organization “Trash 2 Treasure,” in which students have the opportunity to recycle unwanted items, such as clothes and furniture. They are then resold right before the start of fall semester in the “Trash 2 Treasure” event held at the Whittemore Center.
Fried partnered with current members of Trash 2 Treasure and Net Impact to put on the “Repair Fair,” which not only consisted of representatives from Patagonia, but also 15-20 UNH sponsored organizations as well. Some organizations included UNH Compost Cats as well as the Sustainability Institute and was held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Strafford Room.
Edie Allard, a UNH student who led the planning effort behind the Repair Fair, spoke to the impact of the fair and the impact she believes it has on students. “We decided that we wanted to build a fair about recycling and reuse around the Patagonia tour,” Allard said.
Members of the Patagonia team were met with clothing repairs all day long. The team serviced 50 different items such as backpacks, jackets and sweatshirts and repairs for each item took as little as five minutes to as long as one hour.
The Patagonia staff also led over 200 do-it-yourself repairs, in which students were allowed to fix their own items with help from the staff.
“This is the first stop of our second leg of the tour,” touring staff member Cheney Caldwell said. “It’s an east-to-west coast event, so we have some pretty significant travel ahead of us. We are doing two events per week in Delia [the truck], so for about the next five or six weeks, we will be on the road going to schools like MIT, Michigan and the University of Oregon.”
Patagonia’s “Worn Wear” tour is based on the idea of Patagonia that the people that buy Patagonia wear should become “owners” not “consumers.”
According to the Patagonia Director of Philosophy, Vincent Stanley, he believes that buying Patagonia is much more than just purchasing a product. “We believe that buying Patagonia is making a long-term investment in your wear,” Stanley said. “We’re really trying to change the relationship between the company and the customer. People value things because of how they perform and how long they last rather than for their novelty.”
Patagonia also provided free clothing giveaways, which had students lined up out the door of the Strafford Room. Members of the Patagonia staff estimated a few hundred students attended the fair.