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Spartan Upcycle

Creative reuse powered by the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center

Go green and get creative at the following free, hands-on events! Registration is encouraged, but not required. Events are held in collaboration with the Hollander Makerspace. Find out more about upcoming Spartan Upcycle Fridays here

JANUARY

Spartan Upcycle Friday: Clothing Swap & Stitch

Fri. Jan. 27 • 2 - 6 p.m. @ Surplus Store & Recycling Center (in the Education Center) 

Swap and reuse clothing at this free event! Browse through an assortment of donated clothes and select secondhand, new-to you items. The Surplus Store will donate a bundle of clothing to “sweeten” the swap pile. If you have items to donate, please bring them. All are welcome to participate regardless of if or how many items you donate. Supplies and assistance will be available for mending and upcycling.

FEBRUARY

Spartan Upcycle Friday: Upcycled Valentines

Fri. Feb. 10 • 2 - 6 p.m. @ Surplus Store & Recycling Center

Bring back the good vibes of grade school valentines! Cut up paper and fabric, add some flare and color, and adorn your valentines with reclaimed odds n’ ends like button flowers and keyboard keys to your heart.

Make & Sustain: Decorate an Upcycled Notebook

Tue. Feb. 21 • 3 - 5 p.m. @ Makerspace in the MSU Library (2-West) 

Did you know the MSU library prints and binds paperback books in-house? The Makerspace has lots of scrap paper from the bookmaking process that are  upcycled into free tiny notebooks! Join us at and decorate yours! Held at the Main Library, in the Makerspace Flex Area (2-West)

MARCH 

Make & Sustain: Upcycled Planters

Tue. Mar. 14 • 3 - 5 p.m. @ Makerspace in the MSU Library (2-West) 

Upcycle a container and grow your own plant! Decoupage your container with colorful paper provided from Spartan Upcycle and plant a seed from our very own Seed Library.


Spartan Upcycle Friday: Seed Starting with Grow Green Vermicompost

Fri. Mar. 24 •  2 - 6 p.m. @ Surplus Store & Recycling Center

Get your hands dirty at this Spartan Upcycle Friday event, featuring Grow Green Vermicompost, an organic plant food made from campus food waste! Explore upcycled gardening hacks, learn what makes for healthy soil, and plant a few seeds of your own in a repurposed container.

APRIL

Clothing Repair-A-Thon

Tue., April 18 •  2 - 5 p.m. @ Makerspace in the MSU Library (2-West) 

Patch those holes in your favorite clothes! Repair your ripped jeans and replace those shirt buttons! Come as a beginner, a seasoned expert, or anywhere in between! Gain or give hands-on help in the Makerspace with your item. We have a variety of equipment and supplies. Bring clothing you need to repair, or come to learn techniques. Mending is a fun way to save money and the environment.

Earth Day Bash

Sat. April 22 • 2 - 6 p.m. @ Surplus Store & Recycling Center

Celebrate Earth Day! Join in a freecycle swap, make upcycled crafts, tour the recycling and vermicompost facilities, and more. Hosted as part of the MSU Science Festival, in collaboration with MSU Office of Sustainability and MSU Libraries’ Hollander Makerspace. Details will be available at msurecycling.com.

 

Contact

Location: The MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center is on campus at 468 Green Way, East Lansing, MI 48823.

Transportation and Parking:

  • 7 minute bike ride from Beaumont Tower
  • 20 minute walk from Beaumont Tower
  • Free parking on-site for events and while shopping at the Surplus Store.

Email: Send general inquires to recycle@msu.edu or contact the Education Coordinator directly at deskakat@msu.edu. Follow Spartan Upcycle on Instagram

Phone: 517-355-1723

 

Event Snapshots

Spartan Upcycle invites you to rethink traditional definitions of value and purpose, and creatively reuse and repurpose discarded materials collected through the everyday operations of the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center. 

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Students with their haul of clothes from the last Spartan Clothing Swap on September 9, 2022.
 
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Clothing swap participants (R: Sarah Jean Sews) with the upcycled model, wearing a robe made from plastic bag yarn and a "Trash Hat" assembled by artist and faculty Steve Baibak of RCAH. September 9, 2022.
 
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Above and Below: Intercultural Aides showing off their upcycled CD case collages at an event in August 2022. Learn more about the MRULE-ICA Program here.
 
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Above: Participants learning how to make recycled handmade paper at a workshop in July 2022 taught by papermaker Megan Heeres, who was the upcycling Artist-in-Residence in 2021. 
 

 

About Spartan Upcycle 

Create more, and waste less with Spartan Upcycle, the creative reuse branch of the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center.

Spartan Upcycle intends to encourage all of us to rethink traditional definitions of value and purpose, challenge ourselves to take creative risks, and ultimately discover a new use for items that were once thought of as waste. We aim to inspire and promote creativity, resource conservation and community engagement through art, education and imagination.

We host hands-on DIY and arts & crafts events that give you the chance to reuse, repurpose, and reimagine discarded materials. Most events are free and open to anyone, regardless of experience or skill. Spartan Upcycle also makes and sells handcrafted goods and project materials at the Surplus Store, which is the on-campus thrift shop that also sells unique Spartan collectibles. Shop in-person on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or online 24/7.

 

What we do:

RETAIL: We create and sell upcycled goods by repurposing discarded items collected on MSU's campus. We also sell a variety of supplies for DIY and craft projects, plus unique ephemera. Shop with us in-person at the Spartan Upcycle nook of the MSU Surplus Store on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or online. Please note, our in-store offerings are different from our online inventory.

EDUCATION: Spartan Upcycle offers hands-on workshops, hosts events, and offers art-making opportunities for the campus community and general public. Materials and items used in these activities are sourced from the collection operations of the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center, the public Recycling Drop-Off Center, the MSU Community Reuse program, and surplus campus goods. 

COLLABORATION: We are happy to collaborate with a number of campus partners, including academic classes, student groups, units/centers. When possible, we also partner with community organizations and host workshops for small groups upon request. Learn more.

 

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What you can find:

  • View the online offerings from Spartan Upcycle. Plus, follow the Surplus Store Facebook page, for updates on hours and special sales.
  • Items for sale include materials and supplies for use in various projects and upcycled/reclaimed goods that have been repaired, repurposed or otherwise had value added to them. 
  • The materials and supplies we sell may be used in various arts and crafts as well as home decorating or minor home improvement projects.
  • While our inventory varies depending on what SSRC collects through our operations, Spartan Upcycle regularly stocks materials and supplies related to:
    • collage, decoupage, assemblage
    • scrapbooking, cardmaking
    • sewing, knitting, fiber arts
    • clothes mending and upcycling
    • furniture repair and upcycling
    • woodworking, metalsmithing
    • zero waste living (jars, canisters, etc. for bulk shopping; fabric for making reusable alternatives to single-use products; repurposed and second-hand items, etc.)

 

Why Upcycle?

Spartan Upcycle supports SSRC’s mission to manage waste as a resource through an integrated system of reuse, recycling, collaboration and education. We inspire and promote creativity, resource conservation and community engagement through art, education and imagination. Why? Because more creativity = less waste! 

SSRC is responsible for collecting and managing discarded items from campus including recyclables, surplus goods, IT equipment, food waste and trash. We collect from academic, research, and residential buildings; athletic and event spaces; MSU farms and more. Each year we process between 20 and 25 million pounds of material, and on average we divert roughly half of all general building waste away from the landfill. 

Spartan Upcycle came about a few years ago when it became apparent that SSRC was missing an opportunity to keep more "stuff" out of the landfill and in circulation. We knew that repurposing and reimaging was the way forward.