16th annual Sustainable Living Fair provides diverse opportunities to students

Maddie Stachniak

Workshops, charity opportunities, community involvement and live entertainment will all be important parts of the 16th annual Sustainable Living Fair, held Sept. 12-13.

The aim of the fair is “to pull together resources in the region, and actually in the nation, so people can get an idea of choices in sustainable living,” said Kimberly Stein, program director for the Sustainable Living Association.

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The fair brings together a variety of resources that aim to educate, according to Stein.

Crotalo Sesamo Damanhur, one of the speakers for this year's Sustainable Living Fair, speaks to a crowd about sustainable singing plants and their importance to the environment. (photo: Emma Brokaw).
Crotalo Sesamo Damanhur, one of the speakers for this year’s Sustainable Living Fair, speaks to a crowd about sustainable singing plants and their importance to the environment. (photo: Emma Brokaw).

“I tried to pull together exhibitors and workshop presenters and keynote speakers as a form of education, so people can take something from that and bring it back into their own lives and possibly make a change,” said Stein.

The workshops aim to focus on issues that matter to Colorado residents, such as sustainable tiny house building and personal health. Sustaining personal health, in conjunction with sustaining the earth’s health, is one of the essential focuses of the fair.

“Sustainable living starts with you,” Stein said.

In order to make these ideas more accessible, the fair organizers are also working this year to expand the diversity of attendees. Stein did not want the fair to be cost prohibitive.

“This year, they have given out up to 1,000 free passes to minority groups living in the area,” said natural resources professor Stuart Cottrell, of the association’s response to the issue.

The Sustainable Living Fair is slowly becoming a place for everyone, but according to its organizers and supporters, students can benefit from all that the fair has to offer.

“This is something local that gives students a chance to become a part of university connections,” said Cottrell.

(Photo by: Emma Brokaw).
(Photo by: Emma Brokaw).

In addition to providing social connections and education on sustainable living, the fair will also provide entertainment, including live music and food.

Another draw for students is the presence of the charity Because International, which will be located in tent 800. The charity received international attention on social media this summer because it designed shoes that grow up to five sizes with a child and can be worn for years.

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With Because International exhibiting for them, the fair’s goal this year is to fill two duffel bags with around 100 shoes, which will then be donated to disadvantaged children in less developed countries.

“You can donate $15 to get a kid a pair of shoes,” Stein said. “It’s a feel-good thing, but it’s also a needed thing.”

This opportunity is one of many available at the Fort Collins Sustainable Living Fair. For more, check out their website, go to their Facebook page or tweet using #gogreenslf.

Admission to the fair, located in Old Fort Collins Heritage Park, costs $10 a day, or $5 for students, and opportunities to volunteer can be found on their website.

Collegian Reporter Madeline Stachniak can be reached at news@collegian.com.