Friday, October 24, 2014

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U.Va. Students to Mark ‘America Recycles Day’ on Friday

Students at the University of Virginia will tackle recycling on Friday with art, social media and  contests.

Students will mark America Recycles Day with presentations at the south end of the Lawn from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and a “sustainable art exhibit” at The Garden Room on the West Range from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit will feature art that includes anything made from recycled, recyclable or natural materials – though the entire piece of art does not have to be made of recycled materials.

“This is to encourage recycling and respect for nature through art,” said Nina Morris, sustainability coordinator at Facilities Management. “We have had recycled art at America Recycles Day in previous years, but this year we have turned it into a gallery show in the evening.”

The art will be on display only during the reception, which is being catered by U.Va. Dining Services. The student artists are encouraged to donate their artwork to local nonprofit group Casa Alma, part of the Catholic Worker movement, for its annual alternative gift fair, which raises money for hospitality houses and a sustainable farm.

“Trashy” art will also be displayed during the day. Students will display their photos of refuse in a “Litterati” contest, which started Nov. 4. The contest challenged students to photograph litter when they find it, post an Instagram photo of it tagged “#litterati” and “@sustainabilityuva” – and then clean up the mess.

“This is the University’s first Litterati campaign,” Morris said. “The Instagram photos are all globally located, so we can see where they were taken and identify if we have a litter problem. It is also a chance for students to stop and think about litter and how we all have a part to play in keeping the planet and the University clean.”

Continuing the artistic theme, organizers also plan a recycling bin sculpture. Last year, students built a large recycling symbol around the statue of Homer, using recycling bins. This year, they will spell out “A-R-D” – for America Recycles Day – around the statue.

The South Lawn activities will include a pair of contests: Students will have a chance to test their recycling knowledge with a waste-sorting contest, determining how to sort items such as disposable coffee cups, drinking cups, plates and napkins; and also will have an opportunity to guess how much electricity a block of crushed aluminum cans will save by being recycled.

The University has been aggressive in its recycling and composting efforts and recycled 49.8 percent of its municipal solid waste in fiscal year 2013, Morris said.

America Recycles Day activities are sponsored on Grounds by Student Council, U.Va. Sustainability, Crafting for Conservation, U.Va. Dining Services, The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia and the College Council.

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