COME HELP SAVE THE PLANET WITH AEO and I:CO

Guest Writer: Jennifer Gilbert, Chief Marketing Officer @ I:CO

Did you know that almost every piece of your clothing or pair of shoes is reusable or recyclable? It’s true but every year, billions of pounds of these items end up in our landfills, causing harm to our planet. American Eagle Outfitters and I:CO  (a global closed loop textile recycling company) want to help change this by making it easy, convenient and instantly rewarding for everyone to give their unwanted clothing, shoes, and accessories new life. AEO ICO Display 3

 “Live Your Life. Save Your Planet.” Collection Box.

Starting today, you can drop off those old kicks, that worn-out pair of jeans or hopelessly out of style threads into I:CO boxes at any of the 800+ American Eagle Outfitters US and Canada stores. In return, you’ll be rewarded with a text code for $5 off a pair of AEO jeans.  Every item collected helps the planet, and any proceeds from the program will be donated to the Student Conservation Association, empowering new generations of environmental leaders. What happens to the items once I:CO receives them? We re-utilize, renew and regenerate them. Items are sorted using over 350 different criteria to determine their most effective next use. This could be finding a new home as second hand clothing, reuse as cleaning cloths, recycling into fibers for carpet padding and insulation for the building and automotive industries or up-cycling into new fabrics and products. This is what we call “closing the loop.”

Clothes Sorting Upclose 72 dpi

I:CO Team sorting thru the donated clothes

Denim Recycled Scrap to Fiber 180 dpi

My hands with recycled fiber

white tshirt

Finished product- Cotton T-shirt

The vision is for all products to be designed with future uses in mind, so materials can be 100% reused in a truly endless cycle.  By doing this, we will eliminate waste, preserve vital material resources, protect our environment, and enable everyone to consume in a more sustainable way. It all starts with making a simple change in behavior. We are excited about the impact the “Live Your Life. Save Your Planet.” recycling program will have on American Eagle Outfitters communities throughout North America. I believe each of us has the power to change our environment.  So go clean out your closet and come help us build a better world.

Recycle. Reward. Renew. Repeat.

To learn more, please visit www.ico-spirit.com.

Tags: , , , ,

AEO + SCA win Golden Halo Award

Our 2013 partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) won the Golden Halo Award at the 12th annual Cause Marketing Forum Conference in Chicago, IL. yesterday.  The recipient of this award holds North America’s most prestigious honor in the field of cause marketing. The 12-week “AEO + SCA + You” campaign that caught the attention of the award givers, featured hundreds of college students serving in two national parks, a fundraising component that raised $500,000 to support future conservation efforts, and a combination of in-store, online and social media activity that spread SCA’s youth conservation movement to millions nationwide.  “This exciting campaign allowed us to extend conservation from national parks to hundreds of American Eagle stores and communities nationwide,” said SCA President Dale Penny.   “Environmental sustainability is one of the most important issues among our customers,” added American Eagle Outfitters Foundation Director Marcie Eberhart.  “Our customers stepped up to serve and lend their voice and support to SCA.  That’s what ‘Live Your Life’ is all about.”

DSC_4168

From left to right: SCA’s VP of Communications: Kevin Hamilton, Cause Marketing Forum President: David Hessekiel,  American Eagle Outfitters Foundation Director: Marcie Eberhart, and SCA’s: Jamie Patten and Peter Bokolas 

This year, we combined efforts to beautify and clean up urban parks throughout the country as part of #HeARTTHISCITY Alternative Spring Break. Each of the urban park efforts were concluded with the installation of a cool, one-of-kind piece of art that will continue to inspire visitors to always take care of and HeART our cities!

10258632_10152296438994039_1758854115667474162_n

 #HeARTTHISCITY Donor Pictures

SCA is the only national organization that develops tomorrow’s conservation leaders by providing high school and college students with service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests.  And for the last seven years, AEO has been the signature sponsor of SCA’s Alternative Spring Breaks.  Past projects have included the following- planting endangered Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park, building hiking trails in the Grand Canyon and restoring vital wildlife habitat in the Everglades, Padre Island, Big Cypress and the Santa Monica Mountains.

We want to thank SCA and you, our customers, for continuing to help us make a difference. We are honored to have received this year’s Golden Halo Award.

Tags: , , , ,

#HEARTTHISCITY: San Francisco

As part of Alternative Spring Break 2014, American Eagle Outfitters has teamed up with the Student Conservation Association to beautify and clean up urban parks throughout the country as part of Alternative Spring Break. We’ll bring you the story of each location throughout April. Join the movement this Spring Break and don’t just go somewhere, do something! Read on to learn more about our San Francisco project from Jean, an SCA team member.

Our volunteers arrived in droves to Golden Gate Park starting at 10am on Day One. I had nonstop registration traffic for about an hour! I loved the energy and excitement of all the volunteers. Once we did a quick introduction, we all headed out to different projects including building planter boxes, painting, cleaning around the building, planting, mulching, and weeding.

SCA Leader Teamer Marvin V. preps planter boxes.

SCA Leader Teamer Marvin V. preps planter boxes.

I took a deep breath, drink of water and led 25 volunteers into Golden Gate Park to work near Alvord Lake, spreading mulch and weeding planters along the bike path. Immediately, visitors to the park began thanking us as we worked. One man said the mulch was especially needed because “it’s gotten so dusty around these trees. It used to be so pretty. This will be great!” We even got a few thumbs up from people on tour buses as they yelled “thank you!” to us.

Right before lunch, we regrouped with everyone involved in the project and heard from some speakers. They did a great job motivating us and articulating the importance of not only conservation work, but urban conservation. Phil Ginsberg, the General Manager of San Francisco Recreation and Parks, was especially inspiring. He spoke of the need to protect urban greenspaces, to help the environment and give people a connection to nature within cities.

Christopher C. speaking on the history of Golden Gate Park.

Christopher C. speaking on the history of Golden Gate Park.

Throughout the week, we forged ahead with our projects, completing them with enthusiasm. I spoke with an SCA alum, Amanda Botsford, who said she came out to the event because she remembered how transformative her SCA experience was and she wanted to reconnect with SCA.

Working on the mural.

Working on the mural.

Throughout  the week,  I was so impressed to see volunteers working past 4pm to ensure everything was completed on time. The SCA members from Oakland and Menlo Park were a huge help cleaning up once we completed our work. It was awesome to see them in action! They embodied the spirit of volunteerism, and reminded me why I love working with SCA members.

The project was an incredible success. The park looks better than ever and we left our stamp with the colorful mural created by Chor Boogie.

Volunteers in front of the completed mural.

Volunteers in front of the completed mural.

Keep checking back for coverage of our clean up and art installations this Spring Break in New Orleans, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Follow the SCA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and go to AE.com/SCA to donate.

Tags: , ,

Aerie Friends & Family: Jocelyn L., Bright Pink Ambassador

Aerie Friends & Family: Jocelyn L., Bright Pink Ambassador

For the past few years, Aerie has been partnering with Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. Meet Jocelyn L., a Bright Pink Ambassador from Chicago, IL. Read on to learn more about how Jocelyn got involved with the organization and why it is important for young women to be proactive with their health.

Meet Jocelyn, a member of Team Bright Pink

Meet Jocelyn, a member of Team Bright Pink

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Jocelyn and I live in Chicago, Illinois. I am twenty nine years old and I work at a downtown Chicago firm as a fire protection engineer. In my free time I love knitting, running, and cooking with my husband Tim! We also love craft beer, and exploring all our great city has to offer.

How did you hear about/ get involved with Bright Pink?

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at the age of 27. At her gentle prodding, I finally began regularly seeing an OB/GYN who recommended I look into Bright Pink based on my family history. I put it on the back burner for awhile and then began to use it as a resource after my sister passed away, looking for information about my high risk. Because my sister was positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation, I eventually met with a genetics counselor and was tested myself. After testing positive, I underwent the regimen of increased screening, and ultimately had a prophylactic double mastectomy in 2012. I remember distinctly after finding out I was BRCA2 positive, looking for people like me–people who didn’t have cancer, but those who were still at high risk. It’s a group that is very much a middle ground, people who are aware of their risk and what it means, but with the time and knowledge to do something about it. I was hungry for information during that time, and Bright Pink was a great resource for me.

Who has been the most important influence in your life?

My sister has been the most influential person of my life. I always looked up to my big sister growing up and as an adult valued her advice and opinions above all. Seeing her struggle with breast cancer, and ultimately succumbing to the disease in 2011 was the push I needed to become more involved in Bright Pink and to truly take care of myself. I would be foolish to see how serious the disease is and see her life cut short and not learn lessons from her experience. She’s still with me every day helping me navigate through life. I miss being able to talk to her, but I know she would be proud of my decisions.

Why is it important for girls/women to become educated in breast/ovarian health?

I think it’s important because it’s our bodies, and no one knows them like us. If we don’t take control then we passively wait to see what happens. Growing up when women in my family were diagnosed with breast cancer, I always imagined that it was something I would deal with in old age. But my sister’s diagnosis at a young age and its aggressiveness really shocked me. Not everyone’s case is so extreme, but it’s possible, and women can’t just put their breast/ovarian health in a box and wait to unpack in it their 40s, when they’re done having children, or when they have time. Cancer doesn’t wait until it’s convenient for you. It may never come, but accepting the possibility that it may come is what goes along with being a high-risk woman. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s up to everyone to read between the lines and find out what’s best for them and their bodies.

What inspires you in everyday life?

The memory of my sister, and knowing that undergoing the mastectomy has made me proactive instead of waiting to be a victim. If I had to see my sister undergo what she did, and then do nothing to prevent it from happening to me, it would be wasteful. I feel like the gift of knowledge that my sister gave me through this experience is the greatest gift I could ever receive. Seeing strong women empowered in the face of adversity is inspiring to me.

What do you love about Bright Pink?

I love that Bright Pink networks you with real people, not just people in glossy pamphlets. I have participated in the Pink Pal program and spoken with a woman who was in my exact situation and could lend her experiences. I love that the outreach programs are fun and conducive to real discussions about the unique problems high risk women face. The women I meet there are a wealth of information, and they make me feel normal navigating my path. We can discuss anything. I love that there are also educational programs with experts who I feel I can ask anything. Bright Pink’s focus on knowledge and empowerment is the message I needed and I hope can continue to share.

How can girls/women get involved with Bright Pink?

All sorts of ways! Women can attend an outreach program, use the website as an informational resource, participate in the Pink Pal program, volunteer at events, or participate in fundraising activities. Last year I ran the Chicago Marathon (my first!) for Team Bright Pink, raising money for the organization and training with the team. This year I plan to run the Chicago Half Marathon with Team Bright Pink as well.

 

Bright Pink’s message is about the importance of taking a proactive approach to your health and they offer an interactive online quiz that combines your family health history and lifestyle factors to create a personalized risk assessment for you to save, print, and bring to your doctor to craft a proactive breast and ovarian health strategy unique to you!  Check out Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk tool and check back for more updates on our partnership.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 263 other followers