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Stitching Together Two Departments with the Little School Reusable Bag project

February, 2018
  • QCC Student Ana Del Torre explains to the children at the Children's School how trash can impact the environment.
  • Children at the Children's School learn about ways they can help the environment.
  • A child at the Children's School creates a drawing to be embroidered onto a reusable bag.

Combining departmental and student resources for the common good is something that just seemed like a natural fit for QCC student Ana De la Torre, an Environmental Science major. Last fall, Ms. De la Torre took her passion for the environment and started the Environmental Think Tank Club at QCC. Although relatively new, the club has begun to spawn many ideas and projects.

“The core mission of the club is to teach about the environment and how we are also involved in it,” Ms. Del Torre said.

img_2741-thumb.jpgOne of the first projects the club is initiating is the Little School Reusable Bag project. The premise is to teach children (and adults) how disposable plastic bags affect the environment by having children at the Children’s School make drawings that will then be embroidered onto reusable bags, using QCC’s Fab Lab embroidery machine. Ms. De la Torre met with instructors at the Fab Lab and teachers at the Children’s School to discuss the idea. Both departments were excited to jump onboard and help with the project.

“This School Bag is an ideal project for the Fab Lab. It is community-based and demonstrates some of the newest technical capability of the lab. It is a great example of digital fabrication, converting a drawing to a digital file that can be used by a machine. In addition, it shows that Manufacturing can be really cool," said Damian Kieran, QCC Associate Professor of Manufacturing Technology.

Ms. De la Torre recently met with children (ages 3-5) at the Children's School, showing them pictures of animals, birds and sea creatures that are most often affected by trash and disposables.

“I told them about plastics bags, trash and all disposables and explained that when animals eat these things they get sick,” Ms. De laTorre said, adding that the students quickly made the connection of how trash can negatively impact the environment.

After Ms. De la Torre talked with the children they immediately went to work drawing pictures that will embroidered onto the disposable bags using the Fab Lab's embroidery machine. She said the goal is to have the bags bring an awareness of the impact disposables have on the environment to not only the children, but to adults as well.

Student volunteers are currently needed to help bring the project to fruition. Any student who is interested in helping with this project can reach out to Ms. De la Torre at adelatorre [at] and Alex Gray at agray [at] .