Patagonia’s ‘Worn Wear College Road Tour’ adds UNH to list of stops

Bret Belden

UNH will officially become a stop on Patagonia’s “Worn Wear College Road Tour” on Tuesday, March 21.

In honor of the praise UNH has received by being selected by Patagonia and the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) as one of the top 21 “Zero Waste” campuses in the country, the day will be filled with events that will allow students, faculty, staff and community members to reassess their relationship with their material belongings and engage in a dialogue about how certain apparel businesses are acting as agents of change. The day aims to prove that reducing waste and becoming environmentally friendly can also be in style.

The daylong event will begin with the Reuse and Repair Fair, running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Mills Courtyard. As a part of Patagonia’s Worn Wear initiative, a mobile repair vehicle, the Worn Wear Truck, will be present throughout the event and offer free repairs to used clothing and outdoor adventure gear belonging to UNH students. The clothing does not have to be Patagonia-wear to be eligible for the free repairs. This event will be co-hosted by the UNH Sustainability Institute, Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise, UNHInnovation, Net Impact, Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) and the (PLAN).

Other activities include trivia and prizes from Klean Kanteen, recycled fleece demonstrations by ReFleece, free drinks from Guayaki, upcycling workshops with student groups, bike repairs and smartphone and iPad repairs.

The day will culminate in the Granite State Room of the Memorial Union Building from 5 to 6:30 p.m. with the final event, “A Dialogue on Businesses as Agents of Change,” hosted by the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise. With a panel of leading apparel industry experts, the evening will center on discussing innovative ways that business leaders are reducing their environmental footprint and reshaping their industry. The panel is open to students, faculty, staff, alumni and local community members.

Patagonia’s director of philosophy, Vincent Stanley, is the keynote speaker of the evening and will briefly talk about Patagonia’s pursuit of environment and social sustainability. He will tell the story of how Patagonia became recognized as one of the most progressive companies in the apparel industry with regard to being eco-conscious.   

Fiona Wilson, executive director of the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise, will moderate the panel event. Wilson describes the event as an “awesome opportunity for UNH students to learn from some of the most environmentally innovative companies in America.”

“It’s easy to vilify major corporations for their contributions to environmental degradation and indeed there are many companies who are not acting responsibly in that regard,” Wilson said. “At the same time, there’s a major shift happening in corporate America and around the world. Leading companies like Patagonia, Timberland, Eileen Fisher, WL Gore and others, are innovating to ensure a lighter footprint on the earth.”

Panelists committed to sustainable practices include Timberland’s Colleen Vien and Amy Hall from Eileen Fisher. W.L. Gore and Associates and Sustainable Apparel Coalition will also be represented on the panel. They will have a dialogue about the opportunities and challenges of sustainability in the apparel and footwear industry. The panel will be followed by a free reception where attendees will get the chance to meet and talk with the leading experts.

“These companies embody the idea that businesses can be agents for positive change in the world,” Wilson said.