Boston, MA The Furniture Trust, a nonprofit committed to responsible reuse of unwanted office furniture, held its annual signature event, the Eco-Carpentry Challenge, designed to promote resourcefulness and upcycling while providing students critical skills. Used office furniture donated by local businesses was delivered to nine high schools where student had five months to use teamwork, imagination, and carpentry skills to transform these materials into new products, later donated back into the community.
On May 4 at District Hall, students networked with industry professionals and peer schools, and formally presented their up-cycled innovations to a panel of judges, providing additional details on contending projects and what they learned from the experience.
“My favorite part about the Challenge is taking something beat up and creating something that can be used again by people who really need it in the community,” said Kyle Lang, a senior at East Bridgewater Jr/Sr High School, “This Eco-Carpentry Challenge has shown me what I can do; it’s increased my excitement for college and what I can really accomplish.”
The nine participating schools of the 2017 Eco-Carpentry Challenge include: Just A Start Youthbuild (Cambridge); East Bridgewater Jr/Sr High School; Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School (Haverhill); Hopedale High School; Medford Vocational Technical High School; Northeast Metro Regional Technical High School (Wakefield); Worcester Alternative School; South Eastern Regional Vocational Technical High School (Easton); and Madison Park Technical Vocational High School (Boston).
The Furniture Trust assigned each team a mentor from the architecture, construction, project management, facilities, and furniture industries to provide guidance and technical expertise throughout the design and construction of their projects: Doug Caves and John Lorusso, Agero; Jared Crowley and Neal Swain, Columbia Construction; Brian Connearney, Northeast Carpenters Union; Bill Olson and Dave Guerino, Wise Construction; Joe DeVeau, Officeworks; Joseph DiClemente and Ryan Eisenhauer, Structure Tone; Alexandra Dupnik and Karen Bala, Dyer Brown; Jacob Stephens; and Kane Cuddy, Bond Brothers.
After thoughtful deliberation the panel of judges comprised of industry professionals - Karen Whiteknact, Liberty Mutual Insurance; Malisa Heiman, Biogen; Bill Crean, CBRE; Brooke Nash, MassDEP; and Jay Calnan, J. Calnan & Associates - named the 2017 Eco-Carpentry Challenge winners:
• Runner Up: East Bridgewater Jr/Sr HS – $1,000 prize;
• 1st Place, Small Shop: Just a Start – $2,000 prize;
• 1st Place, Large Shop: Hopedale HS – $2,000 prize; and
• People’s Choice: Madison Park Technical Vocational HS.
“I’m blown away by the generous sponsors, furniture donors, and especially the kids who have created something that they are so proud to give back to the community,” said Christine Mosholder, founder of the Furniture Trust, “Reinvesting excess office furnishings back into the community has a proven multiplier effect, the positive impact of which can be seen in our youth and across our sustainable network.”
This year’s event, emceed by WROR’s Hank Morse and featuring a presentation from Massachusetts secretary Ronald Walker from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, acted as a fundraiser with raffle prizes and a live auction including a signed Tom Brady New England Patriots jersey.
Sponsors of the 2017 Eco-Carpentry Challenge included:
• Platinum sponsor: Fort Point Project Management.
• Gold sponsors: Agero, NEREJ, Pinnacle Office Solutions, and J Calnan & Associates.
• Silver sponsors: American, ABC Moving Services, B-Graphic, Officeworks, IOP, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Office Resources, Peabody Office, Strategic Workspaces, Red Thread, Wise Construction, USGBC Massachusetts, Unispace, Herman Miller/Creative Office Pavilion, Margulies Perruzzi Architects, and Struture Tone.
• Bronze sponsors: American Contractors Corp., Boston Art, Forbo Flooring Systems, and Spry Moving Boston.
• Green Circle Sponsors: MassDEP, RW Sullivan Engineering, Sarah Cas Branding+Design, Wilson Gould, Dyer Brown, Biogen, Bond, Columbiua Construction Company, New England Carpenter’s Training Fund, and CBRE.