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Recap: Spartan Upcycle Fridays, Fall '21

Recap: Spartan Upcycle Fridays, Fall '21

Posted by Katie Deska on Dec 15th 2021

*Update 1/19/2022* -- Due to university guidance to de-densify campus, SUF is suspended through February and until further notice. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for future updates. 

Fall semester of 2020 was the beginning of Spartan Upcycle Fridays, and they're on for Spring Semester 2021, as well! This (almost) weekly activity is held at the MSU Broad Art Lab, in collaboration with Spartan Upcycle, the creative reuse branch of the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center (SSRC). 

From noon to six on most Fridays, all are welcome to drop-in at the Art Lab and create the project-of-the-month made (mostly) with supplies collected through the daily operations of the SSRC. Free for students and $5 for the general public, this event captured the attention of students, staff and community members alike. In the casual drop-in atmosphere, strangers became familiar faces and some became friends. It's easy to get to know people when you're crafting and playing like a kid! 

The partnership between Spartan Upcycle and the Art Lab stretches back a few years ago to the Points of Intervention Tour, a campus event organized by SSRC and held at the Broad Art Museum and Art Lab. Later, SSRC partnered on a plastics-focused event led by faculty participating in the WasteNOT! project and students in a Community Sustainability class. 

During the lockdown Spartan Upcycle and Art Lab reconnected and began collaborating on an Upcycle Edition of the Art Lab's weekly Studio (in)Process event. Held on Facebook Live, these became a venue for the community to see how discarded or unwanted materials can be reworked into a work of art! Studio Educator, Britta Urness, led the audience through a live project demonstration while SSRC's Education Coordinator, Katie Deska, contributed to the chat with facts about materials and ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

As Britta and Katie were gearing up to plan the Fall Semester of virtual art demos, it was decided that a hands-on upcycling opportunity would be a greater offer to the MSU community than a virtual option. The two gave it a go with the launch of Spartan Upcycle Fridays in September 2021. 

Below, see photos from projects held during Fall of 2020, and be sure to drop-in for an upcoming Spartan Upcycle Friday! 

As Britta says, "stay safe and stay creative!"

Wintery Paper Wreaths (December 2021)

Metallic Votive Candle Holders (November 2021)


Macrame Plant Hangers from E-Waste Cords (October 2021)

Use beginning macrame skills to make your own plant hanger crafted from surplus electronics cords and upcycled containers from Spartan Upcycle.

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Funky Junk Journals (September 2021)

Custom junk journal made up of discarded paper items like magazines, envelopes, brochures, sheet music, packaging, maps, and surplus office supplies from Spartan Upcycle.