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Original photo by Jenna Herzog

Lafayette’s Bags to Beds Initiative


If you’ve been on Lafayette’s campus for even a day, you’ll see that there is so much more that could be done to maintain an environmentally friendly atmosphere. Granted, it is not easy with this Covid semester, but it should be alarming how much plastics are being used every day, and if this is not concerning to you, take a better look around. However, this just provides an opportunity for the passionate and committed students of this school to make a change. Madeline Squarcia ‘22 was the first to take action on this issue on campus and started Bags to Beds with merely a poster and Group Me chat. 


Bags to Beds allows the excess of plastic bags used in dining halls and to-go food consumption to be put to an amazing cause. Plastic bags are cut into strips and tied to make “plarn” aka plastic yarn and then crochet to form a sleeping mat. These sleeping mats will be donated to Safe Harbor homeless shelter in Easton at the end of the semester! This is an incredible opportunity to make a difference environmentally on campus and create change in our Easton/Lafayette community! 


Madeline says that “Over the winter break I was thinking about what the semester would look like in terms of sustainability. College campuses are known for their plastic waste, but I knew because of the pandemic this semester would be particularly bad. I started brainstorming ways we could turn our waste into something useful, meaningful even. I came across the wonderful thing of plarn (plastic yarn). After some research into the world of ‘plastic sleeping mat making’, I decided it was something I had to try to bring to campus. I knew Lafayette students are always looking for ways to be involved and better the community, and this would be a perfect way to do just that in a safe and independent way. And so with a group chat, a YouTube video, some note sheets, a few boxes, and over 70 interested students ‘Bags to Beds’ was created. The success of the initiative and the contributions of Lafayette students has far exceeded my expectations, and I cannot wait to donate our many sleeping mats made with tons of bags and love to Safe Harbor”.


Here’s what to do and how to get involved:


*All of these instructions are also posted in the Bags to Beds Group Me, which if you want to be added, email squarcma@lafayette.edu or use this link to join: https://groupme.com/join_group/66171330/pA7qeUDs ! But these steps can still be followed regardless and beyond Lafayette as well. 


Step 1: Collect bags


Save the plastic bags the dining halls give with every meal! Make sure they are clean (no food residue) and not ripped. Collect these for yourself and continue with the next steps, or donate to the box in Rockwell behind Eco Cafe.


Step 2: Cut and tie bags


Once the bags are collected and sorted, this next step is so simple and can be done mindlessly while watching a show or sitting on the quad! Fold the plastic bag into roughly four strips horizontally and cut into another four sections length-wise (with the end of the bags and the handles discarded). These loops can be knotted together to form a long strand of yarn made from plastic. So cool!


Step 3: Crochet (or pass along)

If you know how to crochet, this next step is still for you! If not, now your “plarn” ball can be donated in Rockwell. For the crocheters, the Plarn can now be made into a long, flat mat which will be used for sleeping. 


Step 4: Tell your friends and raise awareness


Finally, go tell your friends about Bags to Beds! Everyone can be involved somehow and so much good can come from all the extra plastic on our campus. Now is the perfect time to start with this project just in time for Earth Day!


Here are some pictures of the progress already made so far this semester to get you motivated!

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Jenna Herzog

Lafayette '24

First year at Lafayette!
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