Repair Clinic

Free repair clinic.  Volunteers will help fix clothing, backpacks and more.

What is the Repair Clinic?

Twice an academic year, faculty and staff volunteers gather for a two-hour session to fix students' rips and missing buttons, jammed zippers, broken glasses, backpack straps and much more.  This service is absolutely free to any GVSU student.  At each clinic, we try to repair as much as we can for as many as we can.  In 2017-2018, two clinics of two-hours each managed to make 108 repairs.  The October 24, 2018 clinic accomplished 50 repairs and 8 students learned to knit.

Knitting instruction on site with yarn and knitting needles learners may keep.

Snacks and small giveaways. 

Advisors on hand to talk about any academic or scheduling questions you may have.

When is the Next Repair Clinic?

Spring 2019 dates for Repair Clinics are under discussion and will be posted soon. 

The first Allendale campus Repair Clinic of the year was held 6-8pm on October 24.

One clinic on the downtown campus is planned and two are likely to be held on the Allendale campus.

So that you do not miss the announcement of dates for Repair Clinics, follow @CLAScomm on Twitter or @GVSUCLAS on Facebook.


Faculty and Staff Volunteer Repairers

If you would like to assist at a future repair clinic, please fill out this easy online form.  We need people who can sew (hand or machine) or knit, handy people ready to glue or wrestle with jammed zippers, greeters, advisors.  Clinics are typically held 6-8pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you people?  GV faculty and staff know that students can do their best when free of pesky distractions like a hole in a backpack.  The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Housing teamed up to provide this service.  Many others on campus from librarians to faculty and staff across campus soon joined CLAS and Housing to make a difference for our students.


Why are advisors on site?  We hold the clinics at times that students may need some input from advisors (after midterm grades are in or just before registration for the next year begins).  We find that students often come in for a clothing repair, but manage to get an advising question answered, too.


Who is paying for this?  The participating GV faculty and staff have brought in their own sewing machines and tools and have donated the materials needed to make repairs.  We remember our own student days.  Housing graciously helps us by providing some healthy snacks.


How can I learn some of these skills?  We encourage you to watch while your repair is being made.  Volunteers will be happy to talk you through how they are approaching the repair.  If there is any spare time, we'd be happy to teach you the basics.  Knitting instruction is usually on-going during the two hour session (pausing to help us with any sweater repairs).  Students interested in more in-depth instruction in sewing can access many free online videos, beginner classes at local fabric stores, or even a rigorous course in costumes offered by Grand Valley's Music, Theatre, and Dance Department.  You might even find that one of the repairers would be willing to get you started (we like to share our passion for sewing).


Is this only for undergrads?  We love graduate students, too. In fact, we find that graduate students' backpacks have more miles on them and may be in more need of repair than those of first year students!


My question is not on this list!  Feel free to send your question to Monica Johnstone at

Preparing for October 24.  Photo by Renee Zettle Sterling

repair CLinic 10/24/2018 hand sewing table. Photo by Sherril Soman

Read more about the Repair Clinic

An article on the Repair Clinic appeared in the 2018 annual report of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  

Snaps from 2017-2018

Image of Jamillya Hardley (Housing)  andProfessor Van Wormer  at the first clinic

Professor Russell teaches knitting at the repair clinic

Janet Potgeter assisting a student at the Spring 2018 Repair Clinic in Holton Hooker Living Center

Page last modified October 25, 2018