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DIY Holiday Extravaganza 2016

Authors: S-Corps Leadership Team

On December 6, the small gym was filled with the laughing sounds of students relaxing one last time before finals, and the fragrant smells of redwood, eucalyptus, sage, and freshly baked cookies. As branches traded hands and got tied into wreaths by students and staff alike, sustainable consumption did not feel challenging at all.  About 100 students and faculty came to the S-Corps sponsored annual DIY Holiday Extravaganza, held in the small gym, to make wreaths, swags and decorate ornaments, while enjoying hot cider and Christmas cookies. The wreaths and swags were made out of freshly harvested Living Lab greenery, the ornaments were made out of pinecones, and the cookies were homemade.

Especially in our nation, the holiday season has become a time of laughter, fun, and also a lot of consumption. More than any other time of the year, we often find ourselves in the aisle or the checkout line, with a shopping cart – real or digital – full of things. As part of  O’Dowd’s mission, our Sustainability program is dedicated to promoting sustainable living in our community as well as in our personal lives. Thus, the DIY event allowed students to create their own decorations and gifts from reused materials so as to give a fun alternative to consumer culture this holiday season. Each of the activities – wreath and ornament making, hot cider, and cookie decorating – were prepared, made and decorated using either sustainable, homemade ingredients or reused materials from our very own Living Lab.

As students have learned, practicing sustainable consumption means shopping for products that are environmentally and socially preferable, while avoiding products that are not. It also means reusing materials and products that already exist, and, most simply, just consuming less. This DIY event reminded our community to consider the environmental and/or ethical costs of the products we choose to purchase, and to consider alternative ways of giving gifts this year.


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