Missouri University of Science and Technology staff members in global learning recently started a give-back program called “Global Gives Back” to support the community that provides resources for the campus.
In April, the group of approximately 50 staff kicked off the initiative by using its annual staff retreat to assemble and crochet plastic bags into mattresses for the homeless. Once completed, the mattresses will be donated to those in need in the local community.
“The process of crocheting and creating these mattresses is a lot like our services to the campus – there is a product and production line with people specializing in various tasks,” says Meg Brady, senior director of global learning at Missouri S&T. “It is a collaborative process that gets our office members involved with various departments while helping others.”
To create a sleeping mat, the global learning staff take recycled plastic grocery bags, flatten them and then cut them into 3-inch strips. These strips – called “plarn,” for plastic yarn – are linked together into a daisy-chain-styled ball of plastic, which is then crocheted in a traditional crochet circle. The finished product is a 3-foot wide by 6-foot long mat that will insulate a user from the ground and provide a moisture barrier.
“Because some days there are projects where we shift folks onto other priorities, we hope these team-building activities allow the staff to learn more and share resources,” says Brady. “It is a great way to build comradery while serving others.”
Missouri S&T’s global learning staff hopes to produce several mattresses and expand into other community service projects – all while building collaborations around the campus by encouraging other department to participate. The group is comprised of distance and continuing education, educational technology, the Video Communications Center, and Missouri S&T Global-St. Louis staff.
“Our group is always looking to improve our products and user experiences,” says Jonathan Goad, a media producer in the Video Communications Center. “By building rapport and working together, we can hopefully take some good lessons back to the everyday workplace.”
Learn more about the group’s efforts and how you can get involved, visit global.mst.edu/givesback.