Buy it, use it, break it, fix it

UB hosts repair and reuse fair in the Student Union


If it was broke, it could be fixed in the Student Union on Monday.

Close to 30 volunteers repaired small appliances and educated students on managing waste at the Points of Intervention tour in the SU. Repair stations were scattered throughout the SU lobby, along with educational tables for DIY-home goods, DIY-sewing kits and proper wire rolling instructions. The UB-hosted tour runs with the Post Landfill Action Network.

In the lobby, UB Knit and Crochet as well as UBReUse helped students with everything from textile repairs to an apparel swap shop. GObike Buffalo offered bicycle repairs while Brian Gavigan, also known as the Sole Man, repaired kicks at his table.

Erin Moscati, a sustainability education manager with UB Sustainability, said Monday was the first time her office participated in a repair fair.

“We wanted to give students an option that would be an alternative to a landfill,” Moscati said. "We want students to think about the way they consume things. So what we’d like students to do is re-think the way they can consume and use things, which begins with repairing things.”
Martin Seeger, a senior political science major, assisted attendees with fixing their clocks and watches. Seeger is a volunteer with the University Heights Tool Library, a tool-loaning service that offers memberships starting at $20 per year.

Seeger said his non-profit wants to engage more in events like the POI tour.

“Usually, we measure our success by tonnage –– what we’ve kept out of landfills,” Seeger said. “But also success is measured intangibly. If we get people’s things repaired, they could be more inclined to future community development endeavors.”

Alongside the POI tour, SA hosted a series of TED Talk-inspired speeches in the SU theater.

Melissa Miles, one of the speakers, found air pollution in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood after doctors diagnosed her son with asthma. Another speaker, Amira Odeh-Quiñones, helped end the sale of bottled water at the University of Puerto Rico with the community’s “No Más Botellas” campaign.

Stephanie Acquari, Student Association’s assistant director of environmental affairs, said the speakers are powerful people who can talk about how linear consumption has impacted their communities.

“The speakers today are from those communities that have been impacted from extraction, from disposal,” said Acquari, a senior environmental studies and communications major. “This repair fair is helping them divert that waste and see their communities improve by educating people about what they’re buying at stores and what they’re throwing away is impacting not just the environment but human communities, as well.”

Acquari said she hopes students who left the fair understand the source of the products they buy.

“What they throw away doesn’t just disappear from their lives when they throw it out. It goes somewhere. It impacts someone or a community,” Acquari said. “If students know that, they’ll be more conscious about what they throw away and they won’t cause this impact unknowingly. I hope people take that away and push themselves to understand where everything comes from and where everything goes.”

Benjamin Blanchet is the senior features editor and can be reached at and @BenjaminUBSpec.


Benjamin Blanchet is a graduate student and student journalist based in Buffalo, New York. Aside from The Spectrum, Blanchet has appeared in Brooklyn’s ARTSY Magazine and New York’s RESPECT. Magazine.