The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

April 20, 2014

Trash into treasure

What started out as an idea for a class project quickly snowballed into a campuswide initiative at Danville Area Community College, with the results being on display this week.

To mark Earth Day this year, the Biology Department and the Sustainability Working Group sponsored a Trash to Treasures repurposing challenge.

“We wanted to do something across campus, and this is something all departments can do,” Wendy Brown, a microbiology instructor at DACC, explained. “Whoever wants to submit something can.

“Repurposing is using old stuff to make it new and usable again,” Brown explained. “The challenge will show the importance of recycling and not putting things into a landfill.”

Andrew Kerins, regional coordinator of the Illinois Green Energy Network career pathways program, said, “It started out as a class project, but now that it’s campuswide it’s a good opportunity to get people involved. We want to promote critical thinking.”

The practical and/or fashionable projects will be displayed in the Laura Lee Room of Lincoln Hall during DACC’s Earth Week celebration, starting Tuesday.

The projects will be judged the next day, and $20 gift certificates to the DACC bookstore will be awarded in the five categories of most practical, most unique, most intensively modified, most original idea and strangest conversion.

The only restriction placed on those creating the projects was that the item doesn’t attract pests or emit odors.

“There’s something exciting about turning our junk into something usable,” Brown said.

Brown is no stranger to repurposing. She took an old door and turned it into a table.

To encourage her environmental science students to try their hand at repurposing, Brown offered her students who participate in the challenge credit for a service learning project in lieu of taking a final exam.

“Three students have really taken off with this,” she said.

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