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Blog: Randolph Repair Fair a Success

Posted March 19, 2024 by Jessamyn West


"repair fair" VTSU VTC BALE

A man with short great hair helps a woman with short tan hair inspect a broken device

Dozens gathered in Randolph Center at Vermont State University's SHAPE Student Center to get things fixed, fix things, learn new skills, and get some local knowledge from community information tables and local folks.

"I have a really good time at these events.  It’s fun helping people." said Michael Penrod (pictured above) who fixed lamps and air filters, glued together broken keepsakes, and sent people home with homework and shopping lists if he wasn't able to fully repair an item.

a man holds a slice of pizza and talks into an old school telelphone

Randolph’s third annual Repair Fair happened from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday March 14th. It was a a collaboration between VTSU, the Sharon Energy Committee, Kimball Library, and BALE.  Vermont State University (formerly and locally known as VTC) provided pizza and snacks, wifi, a nice large well-lit area, and a lot of students who were eager to help people with repairs both electrical and mechanical.

An aisle with information tables which would give people information about climate friendly things they can do and also a voter registration table
The information tables, beneath a banner reminding people "Democracy is not a Spectator Sport" provided information on climate-friendly actions people could take. Another table registered people to vote. Another set of tables showcased effective ways to compost, get your seeds started right with soil blocking, and if you didn't have seeds, you could get them or swap them here.

Other fixes offered included sweater darning/mending, knife sharpening, and a variety of bicycle repairs and tune-ups.

Mike Collins, one of the bicycle fixers, said

The repair fair is not just a marvelous event; it's a nod towards sustainability and learning. Attendees are offered the chance to meet neighbors and experts from all walks while giving new life to items that were once considered worn out or waste. To me, it epitomizes community. We're so lucky to have it.

Amy Grasmick from Kimball Library, one of the organizers, said

The thing I really love about these repair fairs is that, while the overt goal is keeping perfectly usable stuff out of the waste stream, the underlying purpose is fostering community connections. And we really saw that! People sat down and talked with folks they'd never met before, and walked away feeling like they had a new friend. It was beautiful! I hope the VTSU electrical engineering students in particular have a better sense of the larger community the college inhabits.

Table at the event from Strafford Climate Action with a banner saying: What can YOU do
Ultimately, the fun evening event was an answer to the question often asked "What can YOU do?" Come on out to the next one and find out!