Earth Week 2012: Recreate

April 5, 2012

Do I throw this in landfill or recycling?—it's a question many of us ask every day. Now we have a third answer for you: recreate instead. During Earth Week this year we're going to give you opportunities to turn your trash into treasure. Our hope is to increase awareness about the various ways creative reuse can help you reduce your footprint and re-think the idea of what is truly waste.

Recreate has multiple meanings–to play, have fun, restore. We want to speak to all of those by having some fun in recreating an object otherwise headed for the landfill or recycling bin.

Recreating helps reduce the amount of material thrown in waste and recycling bins, but there are also additional ways for you to exercise your resourcefulness and creativity. For example, you can use a coffee mug or reusable water bottle, power down your electronics when not in use or go trayless in the dining halls. Or you can just not use something in the first place. One focus during Earth Week is the single-use plastic bag, the most ubiquitous consumer product in 2009. The average American family brings home approximately 1,500 plastic bags a year, reports the Natural Resources Defense Council, and roughly 100 billion plastic grocery bags are thrown away annually by Americans. These bags take years to decompose and end up crowding landfills and destroying oceans and marine life. To help draw attention to the seriousness of this issue, we will be screening Bag It, an award-winning film that explores the far-reaching impact of plastic bags on our waterways, oceans and our bodies. We'll also be hosting a clothing swap at Earth Fest for individuals to donate gently used items. Those who participate will be given a free SAGE tote in which to carry home their "new" clothes.

While the theme of recreate encompasses a wide range of serious issues, as usual we are poking fun at ourselves this year by maintaining the Earth Week horror movie theme tradition. To kick-off Earth Week events, please join us for a screening of Young Frankenstein on Tuesday, April 24th at 5:30pm in Harper 103. The first 20 attendees will be given a Frankenstein Earth Week t-shirt!

A number of events will be held the week of April 23-28th. For more details, please see the calendar (PDF) and event listings below.

Tuesday, April 24

Young Frankenstein Film Screening

5:30 – 7:00pm, Harper 103

Kick off Earth Week 2012 with the scariest comedy of all time—Young Frankenstein! Featuring Gene Wilder as Frederick, the famous Dr. Frankenstein's grandson, a neurosurgeon and "recreator" who inherits his grandfather's castle and encounters an absurd array of characters and outrageous situations. Free Frankenstein Earth Week t-shirts for the first 20 attendees! Refreshments provided.

Co-sponsored by Green Campus Initiative.

Wednesday, April 25

BAG IT Film Screening

5:30 - 7:30pm, International House, Coulter Lounge

Come watch Bag It, an award-winning documentary about plastic bags, the world's top consumer item. This film explores the far-reaching impact of this single-use product on our waterways, oceans, and our bodies. Dinner will be provided from Hannah's Bretzel. Free reusable totes for the first 20 attendees!

Co-sponsored by the International House Global Voices Program and the Plastic Bag Solution.

Thursday, April 26

The Plant Tour—NOW FULL! Names accepted for wait list.

2:15 - 4:30pm, participants meet in front of Pick Hall

Join us for a tour of The Plant, a once abandoned meatpacking facility that is now being repurposed into a net-zero energy vertical farm and food business incubator. A complex and highly interrelated system, one-third of The Plant will hold aquaponic growing systems and the other two-thirds will incubate sustainable food businesses, such as a brewery and a commercial kitchen, by offering low rent and low energy costs. The Plant will create 125 jobs in Chicago's economically distressed Back of the Yards neighborhood and will eventually divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet all of its heat and power needs. RSVP by Friday, April 20. Space is limited on this tour. Transportation provided.

Co-sponsored by Chicago Studies.

Recreate Workshop

5:30 - 7:30pm, Logan Center Wood Shop, Room 111

Make it and take it! Join this free, hands-on educational workshop led by UChicago's David Wolf, Associate Director of Arts Technology and Digital Media for the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Working with reclaimed, scrap, and repurposed materials from the Logan Center, participants will transform salvaged materials into unique functional objects. Learn, build, share, have fun. All skill levels welcome. RSVP to this hands-on workshop required by 5pm Tuesday, April 24th. Space limited to 20 people.

Friday, April 27

Earth Fest

11am - 2pm, Main Quad

Laugh, eat, and recreate! Come to the largest outdoor green festival at the University of Chicago! Sample local and organic food from sustainable Chicagoland businesses. Plant your own herbs! Pledge to recreate and get your picture taken in the photo booth! Get a free bike tune-up and discounts on UChicago bookstore bike gear. Challenge your friends to a game of cornhole, frisbee, or bocce ball! Bring items to donate at the clothing swap and get a cupcake and SAGE tote. Enter a raffle to win Earth Week t-shirts, reusable SAGE totes, mini waste-baskets, tickets to Chicago's annual Green Festival, and an assortment of tasty treats donated from Trader Joe's.

Saturday, April 28

South Side Arts Bike Tour

11am - 3pm, Logan Center for the Arts

Interested in the South Side arts scene? Like to ride bikes? Come explore the South Side landscape while learning about some of the wonderful art programs and organizations the community has to offer! This arts bike tour will take cyclists through Chicago's South Side to four major arts organizations where participants will tour art spaces and exhibitions, as well as attend special presentations. Lunch will be provided. Space is limited on this special tour. Please RSVP to by 5pm on Wednesday, April 25.

Presented by the UChicago Arts Pass Program, in collaboration with Chicago Studies and the University Community Service Center.