Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trashy Fashion: A New Approach to Sustainability

In the spirit of Earth Day, we’ll focus on UGA’s Office of Sustainability! Over the past few weeks, Chiara Gustafson, the intern at the Office of Sustainability, has been organizing the first ever Sorority Green Cup. Twelve sororities appointed “Green Chairs,” who are responsible for recording water, energy and recycling information in their respective houses and reporting those numbers to the Office of Sustainability. The sorority that shows the most effort and greatest improvement in going green will win custom designed t-shirts and a day of discounts at Community Vintage Store downtown.

Each Green Chair comes up with policies and ideas to reduce water and energy waste. Furthermore, Green Chairs are responsible for reducing the use of disposable materials (such as paper plates and plastic utensils). Alison Kirchoff, the Green Chair for Pi Beta Phi, encourages girls to reduce energy consumption by placing stickers on light switches reminding people to turn them off. Pi Beta Phi has increased recycling efforts by involving their kitchen staff in breaking down cardboard boxes and recycling them, rather than throwing them in the dumpster. The Green Chair for Zeta Tau Alpha, Leanne LaFavi, enlisted an electrician’s help in making their house more sustainable. Following his suggestions, she was able to educate members of her sorority about how to be more green.

The Sorority Green Cup will culminate with participation in the Trashion Fashion Show  at ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, Inc. The first-ever Trashion Fashion Show will be held on Earth Day, April 22, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Chase Park warehouses. The idea was developed by Lizzie Zucker-Saltz, the artistic director for ATHICA, and Suki Janssen, the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division head.

The Trashion Fashion Show is held in conjunction with ATHICA’s Upcycle exhibition, which seeks to inform the public about the zero-waste movement of upcycling. Upcycling is a process by which discarded materials are reused in a creative way by being made into marketable products or fine art pieces. Upcycling differs from recycling in that no energy is expended to return the materials to a raw form, and it focuses on materials that are difficult to recycle or cannot be recycled such as Styrofoam, plastic cutlery, ziplock bags, bottle caps and pop tabs.

Upcycle featured artist Reid McCallister's piece Bird with Tractor (Braque)

The Trashion Fashion Show will feature models wearing outfits made entirely out of discarded materials. Each of the twelve sororities participating in the Sorority Green Cup will take part in the Trashion Fashion Show, along with local artists and elementary school students. A panel of celebrity judges will give a variety of awards. The panel includes Kim Deakins of Pain & Wonder Tattoo, Candice Courcy and Alan MacArthur of Urban Spa & Sanctuary, and the Georgia Museum of Art’s very own public relations man, Michael Lachowski!

In order to participate in the Trashion Fashion Show, contact Chiara Gustafson at by April 15! 

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