The lines between art and trash are being blurred across campus by four displays made of waste. Every year, the University participates in RecycleMania, a national competition between colleges and universities to see who can increase recycling and reduce waste the most! In order to raise awareness about RecycleMania and the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling, this year we hosted a RecycleMania Art Display Contest.
Campus Green Teams and student organizations teamed up to create a waste-related art display.
- PSU Green Team + Sculpture Club
- Meyer Library Green Team + Eco-Reps
- CNAS Dean’s Office Green Team + Tri-Beta Biological Society
- Dining Services Green Team + Residence Hall Association
The teams had 100% creative freedom to create a display that shared their message. The messages conveyed by the displays range from the importance of reducing the use of certain plastics to raising awareness about the impact of waste on natural habitats.
PSU Green Team + Sculpture Club
Location: Plaster Student Union Remembrance Lounge
Leaning in the corner of the Plaster Student Union Remembrance Lounge is a magnificent and intriguing artistic display.
“Inspired by “trash island” and ocean waste in general we created a large plastic sphere caught in a plastic net. The sphere and net are made from recyclable plastics gathered from local stores and include, pvc pipes, shrink-wrap, bags, bottles, and 6-pack rings. These materials are also common waste, bringing attention to the issue of the millions of tons of waste harming our planet.”
MSU Sculpture students and Sculpture Club (Aleana Evans, Ashley Wampler, Casaundra Williams, Stephanie Haug, Melanie Jones, Zea Scholbrock, Will Finch, Suzanne Ahlvers, Richard Russell, and Colin Aubuchon)
“Having our RecycleMania display in the Plaster Student Union was an ideal situation due to the high amount of building traffic on the 2nd floor. Our display consists of recyclable materials such as plastic soda rings, and saran wrap. We are grateful that the MSU Sculpture students and PSU Green Team were able to create such a unique display!”
DJ Fox, PSU Green Team Eco-Ambassador
Created by MSU Sculpture students and The Sculpture Club, the display brings light to the growing issue of plastics in our oceans. The students who created the display titled the sculpture “The Plastic Plague.”
Meyer Library Green Team + Eco-Reps
Location: Meyer Library Entry Ramp
Along the library entrance windows, you can see purposefully arranged “strands of trash” comprised of materials that cannot be recycled, but rather have been repurposed as an art display.
The Meyer Library Green Team and Eco-Reps, students who promote sustainability on campus through peer-to-peer discussions and activities, teamed up to construct this unique display.
“Taking trash that would normally end up in an incinerator or dump and giving it a new purpose as art has been a wonderful experience. I loved helping to design and construct the library display and learning more about waste along the way!”
Ashley Newson, Senior, Eco-Rep Coordinator
“The Meyer Green Team fully supports RecycleMania as a means of educating the MSU community in our quest for reducing waste and increasing awareness of the environmental impact of waste. This RecycleMania Art Display and RecycleMania offered the perfect opportunity to be involved at a very visible level.”
Jan Johnson, Meyer Library Green Team Eco-Ambassador
“We are all responsible for the earth. We can either treat it like a gigantic trash can or as our back yard.”
Chris Edwards, Meyer Library Green Team Member
With the goal of first catching students’ attention, this display was created to raise awareness of how much waste we throw away and how much cannot be recycled.
CNAS Dean’s Office Green Team + Tri-Beta Biological Society
Location: Temple Hall Display Case
In the display case next to the Pit in Temple Hall, you can find a life-size polar bear constructed out of recyclable plastics.
“Tri-Beta was interested in participating in RecycleMania because environmental health effects the biological world greatly, for those going into Wildlife Biology and Veterinary Sciences, but the effect on human health will impact our pre-med students, and many more! We made our display a polar bear because we wanted it to connect with all students – go bears, amiright?! Also to highlight the danger polar bears are in, not only with climate change, but how the physical pollutants bother them. The bear’s core is made of recyclable plastic milk jugs, but the outside is made of plastic bags, which many people don’t know are recyclable, since so few places accept them. We have added a recycle bin to the display so that students and staff can drop off their plastic bags to be recycled, since they are not recycle elsewhere on campus. #RecycleBear”
Brooke Widmar, Sophomore, Tri-Beta Member
“The CNAS Green Team partnered with Tri-Beta (a biology student organization) for the display in Temple Hall. The student organization did an outstanding job of preparing an exhibit that is visually interesting and informative.”
Dr. Tammy Jahnke, Dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences
One person stated that the sculpture reminded him of his own tendency to so easily pollute, to not take responsibility for the care of the planet, and to disassociate himself with habitats far from with his own.
Dining Services Green Team + Residence Hall Association
Locations: Garst and Blair Shannon Dining Halls
In the Garst and Blair Shannon Dining Halls, you will find a mural constructed out of reclaimed cardboard and magazines. The display was created by the Residence Hall Association (RHA) in hopes of encouraging students to reduce, reuse and recycle, while also showing some Missouri State pride. They wanted to create the installation using materials that are frequently thrown away without a second thought. The only materials used are old cardboard boxes, magazines cut into strips, glue, black tempera paint, and metal wire from old notebooks.
“We just wanted to create a display that showed how easy it is to turn things we normally throw away into a cool piece of art, and show pride in our school at the same time. We scoured the internet for cool upcycling ideas and art projects that we could draw inspiration from, and eventually settled on the displays we actually made. It doesn’t have to be difficult, or expensive, to make cool art to decorate a room with.”
Ryan Largent, Residence Hall Association President
“We’ve partnered with Residence life each semester to put on a waste display table. We’ve also featured recycled art as well as education and awareness campaigns about all of our sustainability and conservation efforts.”
Nicole Young, Director of Marketing, Missouri State Dining Services
Ultimately, the goal of this display is to encourage MSU students, faculty and staff to find beauty in what is normally considered trash. RHA hopes to show that it is important to do all that we can to curb wastefulness, whether that is through reducing the amount of stuff we purchase that will end up in landfills, reusing or repurposing items we do purchase after we’re done with them, or recycling the items we can no longer use ourselves.
Each of these art displays is currently being judged on multiple criteria, including creativity, visual appeal, message and impact. The results of the contest will be announced after the end of RecycleMania (April 1st).