Alumna Elise Zelechowski – Sustainably Deconstructing Chicago


Alumna Elise Zelechowski, Chicago’s Guru of Garbage

Elise Zelechowski studied French philosophy at Evergreen. Now she’s known as a  “garbage guru.” Qu’est-ce que c’est? No, this is not a galliphobic slur; it’s the career path Elise has followed since leaving Evergreen.

In a recent interview, Elise describes how she found her calling as Executive Director of ReBuilding Exchange, a Chicago-based organization promoting the reclamation of used building materials that would otherwise wind up in landfills.

“I went to Evergreen,” she explained. “Going to school there you can’t
leave without being pretty well-rounded as an environmentalist,
a feminist, a social justice advocate. And then I lived in France and I was really taken by how the city of Paris functions in terms of food infrastructure, transit infrastructure, small business and recycling.”

Read the full story at to learn how Elise has expanded her work in sustainable deconstruction and waste management to address issues of poverty, the criminal justice system, housing, and employment. You can also view Elise’s inspirational TED talk.

How did The Evergreen Mind hear about Elise? She “facebooked” us! You can share your news too. Check out all Evergreen’s social media connections including our new LinkedIn page.


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