Sustainable Electronics Campus Consortium Meeting 11/17: Update on Illini Gadget Garage Project

The Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) is an ISTC project focused on the development and implementation of a more sustainable system for designing, producing, using, and managing electronic devices. Part of SEI is the coordination of a loose group of staff, faculty, and students interested in sustainable electronics research, education, and the host of environmental and social impacts surrounding electronic devices throughout their product life cycles–the UI Sustainable Electronics Campus Consortium. There will be a consortium meeting at ISTC in Champaign from 2:00 to 3:00 PM tomorrow, Tuesday, November 17, to discuss the status of the Illini Gadget Garage project. In particular, the project team wish to discuss ideas for locations around campus for “pop-up” electronics repair clinics, fundraising, and ideas for how to make the Gadget Garage financially self-sustaining beyond its seed funding. This meeting is open to anyone with an interest in the project–you need not have ever attended a consortium meeting before. If you wish to receive consortium emails and meeting announcements in the future, you may sign up for the mailing list at tomorrow’s meeting, or by sending a request to Joy Scrogum.


The Illini Gadget Garage is a collaboration of the Sustainable Electronics Initiative, the UI School of Art and Design, and the UI Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and is focused on launching a repair center for student and staff owned electronic devices, with seed funding from the Student Sustainability Committee. This venture is meant to extend the useful life of products while providing experiential learning for students (through associated classes, volunteering, and participation in the iFixit Technical Writing Project), and empowering people to see do-it-yourself repair as a viable option for addressing minor damage and performance issues. The space currently occupied by the Gadget Garage is in need of several renovations to bring it up to compliance with ADA standards, and thus there has been a delay in the project proceeding as planned, open to the entire campus community in a fixed location. While additional funds are sought to complete the renovations, “pop-up” repair clinics will be held at already accessible places across campus. Classes will continue to be held in what will eventually be the fixed location for the Gadget Garage; student volunteers are also working with “test pilots” in the space so they can gain experience with working with the public, checking in patrons, and logging impacts (e.g. number of devices repaired, pounds diverted from the landfill through repair, etc.). Read more about the project and developments on the SEI blog and the SEI web site.


Bring your ideas to the table for discussion tomorrow, or just come to listen and learn more about how you can get involved. No RSVP is necessary; this is an informal discussion, and will be held in the Stephen J. Warner conference room. If you’re unable to attend the meeting, but have questions or suggestions, please contact Joy Scrogum.


Illini Gadget Garage identifying mark
Identifying mark developed by Lu Lawrence, Amanda Henderson, and Ruchita Mandhre, as part of ARTD 591/391 with Professor William Bullock.