After a long, gloomy winter, a sunny day was a pleasant surprise for the members of UO Net Impact on April 18. Both undergraduate and graduate chapters of the organization spent months planning events surrounding its annual SPRNG (Sustainable Practices Raising Net Growth) conference and the arrival of Patagonia’s Worn Wear truck.
Patagonia’s Worn Wear College Tour stopped at 21 college campuses considered to be leaders in zero waste and sustainability across the country. The Worn Wear truck, a ’93 Dodge Cummins D250, runs on biodiesel and is outfitted with solar-powered sewing stations. The truck parked in the courtyard outside of the Lillis Business Complex, opening its doors to UO students and community members looking to repair their damaged outdoor apparel.
Also on hand were several booths set up by companies iFixit.com, Envia Fashion, Outdoor Gear Repair, Nancy’s Yogurt, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Café Mam, Hummingbird Wholesale, Young Mountain Tea, and Natural Grocers. The event was even visited by two documentary filmmakers, Andy Adkins and Seth Ring, who were conducting interviews for their upcoming film, “Death of a Repairman.”
The Worn Wear visit was held in conjunction with Net Impact’s annual SPRNG event, whose theme was “Conscious Consumption.” At SPRNG, attendees had the option of one of two breakout sessions—“Innovation in Apparel” and “Business as a Force for Good”—before the main event: the SPRNG keynote panel. The keynote panel featured Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s vice president of environmental initiatives and special media projects, Adam Werbach, president and cofounder of Yerdle, and Scott Briscoe, NOLS Expedition Denali event coordinator and marketing representative. Each shared their perspectives on environmental activism.
Werbach, who was the youngest elected president of the Sierra Club at age 23, discussed the role of politics.
“Politicians are like weather vanes,” he told the audience. “Our job is to make the wind blow.”
Ridgeway’s presentation focused on the role businesses play and how businesses can better themselves. CEOs are beginning to see the need to attract the more sustainably minded younger generation, he said, giving graduates more leverage to be the agent of change inside a company.
Briscoe, a member of the first African American team to climb Denali—documented in the film “An American Ascent”—shared thoughts on how environmental activists and outdoor enthusiasts can increase their inclusiveness, citing his own experience visiting schools and communities that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to connect to the outdoors.
Ridgeway shared that the Patagonia team estimated that they had around 2,000 attendees at the day’s Worn Wear event, at that point the largest campus turnout on their tour. Between the Worn Wear truck and the Outdoor Gear Repair booth, Net Impact reported that more than 100 repairs were made, surpassing their goal of 40.
Net Impact is an international nonprofit organization for students and professionals interested in sustainable business. UO hosts both gold-level undergraduate and graduate chapters, which seek to improve the world by growing and strengthening a network of new leaders who are using the power of business to make a positive net social, environmental, and economic impact.
View Worn Wear Photos
View SPRNG Photos