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 students had five months to use teamwork, imagination, and carpentry skills to transform these materials into new products, later donated back into the community.
At the challenge, held May 10 at District Hall, students networked with industry professionals and peer schools as they showcased 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 is working hands-on, creating something ourselves,” said Jonathan, a student at Nashoba Valley Technical High School. “It’s not about the competition, we’re helping somebody out,” he said of their hand-made bunk bed, complete with desk, slide, and basketball hoops, going to a four-year-old Syrian refugee who lost his home in a bombing, and now lives in Lowell.
The nine participating schools of the 2018 Eco-Carpentry Challenge includes 155 students from: Bedford High School, East Bridgewater Jr/Sr High School, Essex Technical High School (Danvers), Hopedale High School, Just a Start Youthbuild (Cambridge), Madison Park Technical Vocational High School (Boston Public Schools), Nashoba Valley Technical High School (Westford), Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School (Haverhill), and Worcester Alternative School.
After thoughtful deliberation, the panel of judges comprised of industry professionals–Shaun Lover, Columbia Construction; Stephen Bertolami, Liberty Mutual Insurance; Dan Perruzzi, AIA, LEED AP, Margulies Perruzzi Architects; and Brandon Needleman, Avison Young, named the 2018 Eco-Carpentry Challenge winners:
• Runner Up: Hopedale HS – $1,000 prize.
• 1st Place, Small Shop: Worcester Alternative School – $2,000 prize.
• 1st Place, Large Shop: Nashoba Valley Technical High School – $2,000 prize.
• People’s Choice: Madison Park Technical Vocational HS (second year in a row!).
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: Mike Bogdan and Shirley Ng, Fort Point Project Management; Joe DeVeau, Maggie Opolski, Patty Gallagher, and Brian Leahy, Officeworks; Brittany Page, Margulies Perruzzi Architects; Shannon Ponce, Ai3 Architects; Jared Crowley and Neil Swain, Columbia Construction; Brian Duffley, Lauren Perich, and Katrina Eliadis, Nelson; Alexandra Dupnik, Dyer Brown; Ryan Eisenhauer, DPS Engineering; Dave Guerino and Bill Olson, Wise Construction; Tyler Lombardi, Dave Madison, and Kait McKenna, CBT Architects; and Tom Murphy, Amundi Pioneer.
Alexandra Dupnik of Dyer Brown served as a mentor for the Worcester team and had valuable advice for the students: “Take time to be creative and participate in activities that energize and empower you. Be an individual and advocate for yourself. Resist negative influences on your life – allow yourself to be your own decision maker.”
“I’m blown away by the generous sponsors, furniture donors, and especially these students who have created something they’re 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, community, and across our sustainable network.”
This year’s event, emceed by WROR’s Hank Morse, featured presentations by: Migdalia Diaz, Chief of staff at the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, spoke about her own experience entering the workforce and what students can expect after graduation; Malisa Heiman from Biogen detailed her experience hiring The Furniture Trust and what an impact it has made on her firm and personal life; and Dr. Heidi Riccio from Essex Technical High School described what it was like for her students across several schools receiving donations from The Furniture Trust and its impact on her students and school morale.
Sponsors of the 2018 Eco-Carpentry Challenge include:
Silver sponsors: ABC Moving Services, Ability to Dream & Design, Agero, Columbia Construction Company, Commodore Builders, Haworth, Margulies Perruzzi Architects, Mark Richey Woodworking, The New England Real Estate Journal, Office Resources, Red Thread, Strategic Spaces, Peabody Office, Structuretone, Unispace, and Wise Construction
Bronze sponsors: American, Boston Art, B-Graphic, District Hall, IOP, and Office Works
Green Circle Sponsors: Ai3 Architects, Amundi Pioneer, CBT Architects, DPS, Dyer Brown, Gensler, Nelson, R.W. Sullivan Engineering, William B. Meyer, and Wilson & Gould
The Furniture Trust is a nonprofit organization driven to make a difference by rethinking used office furniture and reinvesting it in the community. The Trust provides companies with a proven process for decommissioning that maximizes the value of unwanted office furniture and reduces landfill waste by connecting reusable resources with local schools and nonprofits. Since their founding in 2008, The Trust has connected more than $11 million worth of office furniture to over 931 organizations.