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Spartan Upcycle

Join us at the Go Green Mini Fest!

Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, from noon to 4 p.m.

An afternoon of sustainable fall fun at the MSU Recycling Center! Hosted in partnership with MSU Libraries' Hollander Makerspace, MSU Office of Sustainabilitythe Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU), and MSU Student Life and Engagement-SustainabilityThe Impact (88.9 FM) will DJ the event.

Free. Open to all.

Attendees will receive a 22% off coupon for the Surplus Store and can enter to win one of four gift baskets. 


Socialize with fellow eco-conscious Spartans as we celebrate the kickoff to Campus Sustainability Month! Activities include:

  • Clothing & Book Swap & Shop

    • Have clothes or books you no longer need? Bring them to the Go Green Mini Fest and exchange them for something different! 
    • A selection of clothes and books will also be available for sale. The majority of items are $1. Nothing is more than $5.
    • All are welcome to participate, regardless of what items you bring to contribute to the swap.
    • Thanks to the Surplus Store for offering good condition clothes and books. 
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tours

    • See how its done! Explore the material recovery facility, where campus recyclables are hand-sorted and baled, and say hi to our worms in the vermicompost hoophouse, where we compost campus food waste by harnessing the power of worms.
  • Hands-on Upcycled Crafts

    • Create an upcycled coffee cozy using repurposed materials that were collected on campus by Surplus & Recycling staff who provide waste collection and diversion services to the university. Shout out to the MSU Libraries' Hollander Makerspace for hosting this!
    • Want something simpler? Make an upcycled ghost to decorate for Halloween.
  • Explore Groups related to Environmentalism, Activism, Art, and More

    • A handful of student groups will be tabling at the event to provide information about what they focus on and how to get involved. 
    • Do you want to represent a student group or department? Great! Contact Katie Deska at to discuss.
    • Groups attending include:
      • MSU Fisheries & Wildlife Club
      • The Sunrise Movement
      • Spartan Food Security Council
      • Spartan Thrift Club
      • The Impact

We're located 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 this event. 

For planning purposes, registration is encouraged but not required. Free. All welcome. Questions? contact

Students with their haul of clothes from the last Spartan Clothing Swap on September 9, 2022.
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.
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.
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. 

Other Upcoming Events

Hosted by Spartan Upcycle in partnership with the MSU Libraries' Hollander Makerspace

Events are free and geared toward MSU students, however, all are welcome! Questions? Contact Katie Deska, Education Coordinator, at 

DIY Zine Pop-Up • Tues. Oct. 18• Noon – 2 p.m.Hollander MakeCentral (Main Library: 2 West) 

Pop by the Makerspace to learn how to create a zine! Did you know we have lots of zine resources? Check out the information and materials from Spartan Upcycle, the creative reuse branch of Surplus & Recycling Center. Choose a topic for your zine and design your pages to help spread sustainability info in a fun way! Need more inspiration? Take a look at the Libraries’ zine collection on the first floor! All are welcome, this is a free drop-in event! Hosted in partnership with MSU Libraries’ Makerspace. *This event takes place at the MSU main library, on the second floor of the westwing.* 

Funky Junk Journals Fri. Nov. 11 26 p.m.Surplus Store & Recycling Center (Education Center) 

Make your own funky junk journal by upcycling discarded books, scrap paper, fabric, ephemera, etc. Collage as you wish. Make it a planner, art journal, notebook, diary or gift. Bind it with rings or learn to bind by hand. Registration is encouraged.

Clothing Repair-a-Thon • Tues. Nov. 15 25 p.m.Hollander MakeCentral (Main Library: 2 West) 

Patch those holes in your favorite clothes! Repair your ripped jeans and replace those shirt buttons! Join our volunteer menders to gain hands-on help in the Makerspace with your item. We will have sewing machines, thread, and some fabric. Please bring the clothing you want to repair and any patches, specific colors of thread, or buttons for your project. Mending is a fun way to save money and the environment. Hosted in partnership with MSU Libraries’ Makerspace.*This event takes place at the MSU main library, on the second floor of the west wing.* 

Upcycled Winter Wreaths • Fri. Dec. 2 • 26 p.m. •  Surplus Store & Recycling Center (Education Center) 

Cozy up with a hot beverage and make a festive wreath inspired by winter’s colors and textures. Repurpose a variety of materials sourced from the Surplus Store & Recycling Center including discarded books, paper, metal, fabric, and objects found in nature. Embellish with ribbon, yarn, glitter, paint, etc. Suitable for a gift or to hang in your room. Registration is encouraged.



Who we are:

Spartan Upcycle is the creative reuse retail and education branch of the Surplus Store and Recycling Center (SSRC) at Michigan State University. Spartan Upcycle seeks to encourage all of us to rethink traditional definitions of value and purpose, and ultimately discover a new use for items that were once thought of as waste. 

Connect with us at Find us on Instagram or Facebook.


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.



What you can find:

  • View the online offerings from Spartan Upcycle. (Follow the Surplus Store Facebook page for updates about in-person shopping.)
  • 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.