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Tupper students hold anti-consumerism dance

April 2, 2011
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - The middle/high school Green Team's new event is giving students a chance to get creative.

Team members are organizing a Love Your Earth dance for tonight, and the idea is to discourage people from buying new clothes for the soiree.

Green Team President Bryan Larson said the group's delegation to the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit last fall came up with the idea for the dance during a brainstorming session.

Article Photos

Nicole Nilssen helps Sarah Dechene into a dress she’s making out of a garbage bag, newspapers, Uno cards and duct tape for the Tupper Lake Middle/High School Green Team’s Love Your Earth dance tonight. Club adviser Kathy Eldridge watches Thursday in the school art room.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)

They were sitting near a display about North Country Community College's Junk to Funk fashion show and thought it would be fun to have a dance where people came in clothes made out of recycled materials.

"We liked the sound of that because in high school, you only have your prom and homecoming dance," Larson said. "Girls spend a couple hundred bucks on a homecoming dress and even more on a prom dress. Then they wear it once and put it back in their closet."

But they didn't want to restrict people to only homemade outfits, since fewer people would probably participate, so they decided to have a dance where the only rule was to not buy any new clothes for it.

To help people who might need a new look, they decided to hold a dress swap the week before the dance.

They invited each girl to either donate a dress and take one in return, buy one for $5 or donate one without taking another and get a discount off the dance admission price.

But some students are really getting into the idea of making their own dance garb.

Sarah Dechene, a junior, was assembling her recycled dress Thursday morning in the art room at school. She used a plastic garbage bag as the base, then folded and duct-taped pages from about 10 old newspapers around the torso and skirt area, lining the waist with Uno cards. She said she planned to use duct tape to create a lace-up effect in the back, wrap newspaper around a headband and attach an Uno card box to it, and fix Uno cards to her shoes.

She also made a purse out of Uno cards, which she said is something she's done before.

"I love making things out of cards," Dechene said.

Senior Olivia Walsh created a simple dress out of a black plastic garbage bag and some duct tape. She cut a hole in the dress, then fitted it to herself and created a sweetheart neckline by tying a knot, then lined the hem with a flat ring of duct tape. She also created a necklace out of twist-ties looped together; she said she's thinking about circling the dress' middle with twist-ties as well.

Another student, Autumn Whelan, used sewing skills she learned in her ninth-grade home and career skills class and while building costumes for school musicals to turn a skirt into the ruffled top of a dress. She built the dress' bottom of flat material and cut out flowers from the excess material of the old skirt and added them as decorations, along with some sequins, to the bottom part of the dress.

Nicole Nilssen, a senior, took an old pink dress and reconstructed it into something fresher for the dance.

Dance attendees can model their attire on a catwalk at the dance, and The Wild Center nature museum donated three prizes for the best outfits.

Proceeds from the dance are set to help fund the compost system the Green Team is working on starting at L.P. Quinn Elementary School.

Green Team members plan to create an 8-foot-tall sculpture of a bottle out of water bottles donated by Kinney Drugs for the dance. They plan to install it in the hallway near the school auditorium and put a sign on it saying, "Reduce, reuse and recycle," and then use it as a bulletin board to post ideas for reducing carbon footprints and conserving energy.



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