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From trash to treasure

Fashion trends come and go, but sustainability is here to stay. 

To prove that, teams of students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will design runway-quality outfits made out of recyclable materials for the fifth annual Just Bag It Fashion Show. The free event, which is open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. April 13 in the Ojibwe Ballroom of Davies Center.  

Teams are required to design and model an outfit made entirely out of recycled or repurposed items; a small amount of tape or glue may be used. 

Design teams for the show may consist of one to five UW-Eau Claire students. Teams must submit the event registration form by April 1. The fashion show is designed to raise awareness of sustainability issues and efforts in our community, said Kate Hartsel, UW-Eau Claire Housing and Residence Life sustainability coordinator. 

"This event was developed to help students and others consider how many items we throw away and to get them to think about repurposing materials instead," Hartsel said. "Obviously most of us won't wear our trash, but this event is a fun way to get people to think creatively about how they could repurpose items and also how they can reduce the amount of materials they use. I hope students and others take away a little more knowledge and awareness about reducing, reusing and repurposing items, and a commitment to try and incorporate more sustainable habits such as using a reusable bag." 

Each outfit will be judged on creativity and innovation, execution, quantity of materials used and presentation. Cash prizes, sponsored by the Housing Office of Sustainability and the Student Office of Sustainability, will be awarded to the teams who place in the top four. The teams also will receive trophies made from recycled, repurposed materials created by students in a UW-Eau Claire sculpture class.

Judges for this year's event are Beth Hellwig, UW-Eau Claire vice chancellor for student affairs, Patricia A. Kleine, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs; and Crispin Pierce, associate professor and environmental public health program director and a member of the Eau Claire Advisory Commission on Sustainability.

For more information about the Just Bag It Fashion Show or UW-Eau Claire Housing and Residence Life sustainability efforts, contact Ashley Pike, the event’s student coordinator, at or Kate Hartsel, Housing and Residence Life sustainability coordinator, at or 715-836-2505.