Patagonia Celebrates Sustainability and Zero-Waste Initiatives during Worn Wear College Tour Stop at UMass Amherst

Patagonia's Worn Wear Truck
Patagonia's Worn Wear Truck. Designed and built by artist Jay Nelson, the wagon runs on biodiesel while driving and solar power when the sewing machines are spinning. (Erin Feinblatt photo)

AMHERST, Mass. – Clothing and outerwear company Patagonia will make a stop at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Wednesday, March 8 as part of its Worn Wear College Tour, highlighting college campuses with impactful sustainability and zero-waste initiatives. The tour includes a visit from a Patagonia garment repair truck, activities from sustainable on-campus organizations, and a talk about environmental activism.

Patagonia is hitting the road with the Post-Landfill Action Network, a student-led zero-waste movement, as they visit sustainable universities around the country. The tour aims to educate students about the growing number of sustainability initiatives taking place on college campuses, as well as Patagonia’s Worn Wear program, which was created in 2013 to encourage consumers to repair, reuse, and recycle used clothing.

Patagonia’s focus on zero-waste aligns closely with UMass Amherst’s role as a sustainability leader, which is why the company and PLAN chose to make the Commonwealth’s flagship campus one of the tour stops.

Ezra Small, UMass Amherst campus sustainability manager, says, “We are proud to be recommended to Patagonia by the Post Landfill Action Network as one of the leaders in recycling and waste reduction in higher education, which is why we are one of only 21 campuses to host the Patagonia Worn Wear College Tour. It’s really because of our collaboration between passionate students and caring staff and faculty who support the ideas of students to make our campus more sustainable.”

The Worn Wear College Tour kicks off at UMass on Tuesday, March 7 with a screening of the documentary “The True Cost” at 7 p.m. in the N151 Integrative Learning Center. The film offers a view into the world of fast fashion and the human and environmental implications that arise from it.

On Wednesday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Patagonia Worn Wear Truck will be stationed outside the Student Union repairing rips, tears, broken zippers and more on used clothing of any brand. The Worn Wear team, which can fix about 40 garments per day on a first-come, first-served basis, will also be teaching visitors how to fix clothing by themselves. One garment repair is allotted per guest.

The Repair and Reuse Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 8 in the Student Union Ballroom. Student leaders from on-campus organizations will be on hand to talk about sustainability efforts on campus, with scheduled activities like electronic repairs, tie-dye, clothing swaps, an outdoor gear exchange, and crafting and DIY tables.

UMass groups participating in the fair include Eco Rep, the Outing Club, Climateers, Net Impact, Campus Sustainability Fellowship Program, New2U, Wear in the World, Office of Waste Management, Residential Life Sustainability and the Stonewall Center.

Upcycled fleece and wool company ReFleece, organic fair-trade yerba mate company Guayaki, and electronic repair company iFixit will also be in attendance.

Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia vice president of public engagement, will give a talk, “What to Do, How to Live: Personal Activism for a Threatened Planet,” at 7:30 p.m. on March 8 in the Student Union Ballroom. He’ll be joined by Adam Werbach, environmental activist and previous president of the Sierra Club, and Scott Briscoe, who has worked with the National Outdoor Leadership School and was a member of the first African-American team to climb Denali. The talk will focus on how to move forward in a world facing environmental crises and the personal activism needed to help combat them.

Ridgeway said in a press release, “The time is ripe for change as the environmental crisis depends and students are graduating with more debt than previous generations – resulting in adaptations that are based less on ownership of new stuff and increasingly on borrowing, sharing, leasing and buying used. It comes down to evolving towards a more responsible, circular model of business and living – which is what Worn Wear is here to celebrate and encourage.”

The UMass Outing Club will also be leading trips outdoors in the Pioneer Valley throughout the day on March 8. Sign-ups for these trips can be found at: https://umoc.stuaf.umass.edu/phpbb/index.php.

More information on the Worn Wear College Tour, which runs from February through April, can be found here: http://www.patagonia.com/worn-wear.html