UOG’s Guam Green Growth features sustainable art and fashion at DFS

Kyle Mandapat, UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant Associate Director for Communications and Community Engagement, delivers a presentation at the 8th Assembly of Planners Symposium organized by the Bureau of Statistics and Plans.

In recognition of Sustainable September, the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant, Guam Green Growth (G3), in partnership with DFS T Galleria, organized an event at the retail chain’s Tumon location, featuring sustainable fashion and art. 

The event took place on Thursday, September 28, as one of three events marking the culmination of Sustainable September. On Friday, a wave will happen from 4:30 to 5:30 in front of DFS T Galleria to wrap up the month-long celebration, and Saturday morning will feature a tree planting event in Inalåhan at the Guam Restoration of Watersheds (GROW) initiative Ugum project site. 

2030 is on the horizon, signifying the culmination of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, the UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant, in collaboration with Guam Green Growth and its diverse partners, is actively raising awareness throughout Sustainable September. 

At the event, Marlena Pangelinan, UOG Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, stated, “Guam Green Growth is a partnership between the University of Guam and the Office of the Governor. We have witnessed firsthand the impact of G3’s work on the island, whether it’s educating about food security at the G3 community gardens, developing our workforce with the Conservation Corps, or assisting with typhoon recovery. They work with the people, for the people.” 

The displays at the event prominently highlighted one of the core objectives of the G3 initiative: diverting waste from the landfill. G3 recognizes that, as an island, Guam’s resources are finite, intensifying the need for conservation and sustainable practices 

Austin Shelton, PhD, Director of the UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant, said, “The exhibit goes beyond environmental aspects of sustainability. It highlights how green growth expands our economy. We need to imagine waste as resources rather than trash to bury in the ground. Through Guam Green Growth, we are developing new circular products and sparking new green industries for the island.” 

Meanwhile, Gina Bamba Artero, DFS T Galleria General Manager recognized the importance of the partnership with Guam Green Growth and UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant. She said, “I’m really honored to take part in this important initiative. Bringing forth an increase in sustainability even in this luxury environment is really critical for us to be able to affect the future generations on this island.” 

Abby Crain, G3 Circular Economy Coordinator and the creative mind behind local brand Blue Latitude, designed the sustainable creations.  

The displays featured designs inspired by the slow fashion movement, which promotes sustainable and ethical production methods and encourages consumers to invest in durable, long-lasting clothing. Crain’s designs used handcrafted garments from vintage fabrics, as well as remnants of vegetable-tanned leather. 

Crain also crafted fashion pieces from food packaging and bubble wrap. She also made a manta ray and surfboard display from marine debris. A separate display showcased a large guasåli with hand-folded butterflies made from 300 aluminum cans.  

“This is my way of illustrating how trash can be beautiful and repurposed as a valuable resource. I also wanted to convey the work we do at the Circular Economy Makerspace and Innovation Hub by turning it into tangible products we can sell on Guam,” Crain said.  

Sustainable September brings together a multitude of voices, actions, and commitments to amplify the shared impact of the UN SDGs. The month-long initiative carries a mission to shine a spotlight on sustainability, raise awareness about environmental challenges, and strengthen collaborative efforts dedicated to safeguarding Guam’s biodiversity. 

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