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Update from Joy Scrogum

Posted by Morgan White on July 31, 2017

Hello colleagues. I wanted to take a moment to give you an update on the Illini Gadget Garage (IGG) project and alert you to some upcoming events which may be of interest.

First of all, tomorrow, Tuesday August 1, we’re hosting a group laptop teardown activity from 10:15am-1:00pm. This event is for those who may be curious about/interested in the sort of “do-it-together” repair that is conducted at the IGG, but who feel a bit hesitant to try because of lack of experience, or because they fear they’ll cause further damage to their own device. We have a limited number of matching laptops that were donated as “practice” devices which we’ll be using to lead folks through the process of dismantling. This provides experience with using tools and with opening up an electronic device, so that individuals can feel empowered and more confident about opening a device in the future which may actually need repair. Space is limited, but we do have some seats still available. Sign up at If there is high demand, we’ll potentially hold a similar event in the near future. The workshop is free, though donations are welcome and can be made at

Also, we’ll be hosting a screening of Death by Design, a documentary on the impacts of electronic devices on the environment and human health. The screening will take place on August 22 at the Champaign Public Library. After the film, I will facilitate a discussion/Q&A session featuring Industrial Design Professor William Bullock and Urbana U-Cycle Coordinator and Illinois Product Stewardship Council member Courtney Kwong as expert panelists. See for further information, including a trailer for the film. This is also a free event, with donations suggested and welcome to support future programming.

If you missed last week’s webinar, “What the Tech? Learn Basic Electronic Component Function,” an archived recording and slides are available on our project web site at

We’ll also have booths at Quad Day and the Taste of Champaign next month, as well as having project flyers distributed by our friends at the City of Urbana during the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival. So hopefully we’ll see a new wave of potential volunteers and clients coming to our workshop to learn about ways to keep their products in service longer, and out of the waste stream.

We’re currently seeking sponsors to help keep our services free to the campus community, and to allow us to offer free-to-the public pop-ups in the broader, off-campus CU area. Additionally, we are offering a new “employee engagement event” service for businesses and organizations seeking a unique way to get their employees involved in sustainability discussions and efforts. See for more information.

As some of you may remember, we experienced some setbacks with being able to be open to public, as our workshop required renovation to be ADA compliant. Thus, we have only be officially open to the general public since last fall, but we’ve still managed to have a significant positive impact:

  • We've diverted a total of 320.41 lbs. of devices from the landfill (140.88 lbs. during the spring semester alone). 
  • We've recycled a total of 78 lbs. of single-use batteries (and are now offering both single-use and rechargeable battery collection).
  • We've helped over 100 people to troubleshoot/repair their devices.

We’ve also had students involved as volunteers, participants in UI courses that have collaborated  with the IGG, and as participants in the iFixit Technical Writing Project, creating repair guides that are shared on the iFixit web site so the spirit of collaborative repair that we foster is spread beyond our campus, and even beyond our state. See the “Our Impact” portion of our web site for more information.

If you have questions, or would like to discuss potential collaborations, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I hope to see some of you at tomorrow’s workshop and at the documentary screening on the 22nd.

Best wishes,


Joy Scrogum

Sustainability Specialist

LEED Green Associate | ISSP-SA

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) | Prairie Research Institute

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

One Hazelwood Drive, Champaign, IL 61820