SU showcases green projects

Students from across the University displayed their sustainability-themed work in Schine Student Center, Monday.

Two sophomores from the Whitman School of Management stood at a table recruiting people to submit a “DOT” -- a sustainability-themed resolution on a small blue ball -- and throw it into an inflatable pool where 1,000 others waited. The two hope to have 20,000 submissions by this time next year.

DOT stands for “Do one thing,” as in turning the water off when you brush your teeth, or turning the lights off when you leave a room.

Photo: Shawn Arrajj
Fashion design majors hosted a green fashion show at SU Showcase, Monday.

“If everyone does one thing, it will make a difference, even if they don’t think it will,” said Camellia Loojune, an accounting major at SU who ran the table.

Such was the theme at this year’s SU Showcase. Students from all university schools and colleges displayed their work on ‘sustainability for a livable future’ in the Schine Student Center, Monday.

The third floor of the Schine was transformed into a “Green Museum” with dozens of exhibits set up. Each one related to one of six themes: energy, infrastructure, lifestyles, stuff, sustenance, and The Anthropocene -- a huge timeline listing important events that changed the planet.

Around the corner from the ball pit, two Engineering Management graduate students showed off their design for an eco-friendly shoe, both stylish and warm for cold winter days.

Next to them, two environmental studies students at the Environmental School of Forestry to the College of Environmental Science and Forestry featured a more intuitive public transportation system that will decrease our footprint on the environment.

One of the goals this year was to involve a variety of students from different programs, said Rachel May, who organized the event.

“We didn’t want to have it all be done by engineers and earth scientists,” said May, the Coordinator of Sustainability Education at SU. “We wanted to try to reach out to the kinds of majors you might not expect like Menu Planning or Hospitality Management,” she said.

Another group that May was particularly glad to see participate were the Visual and Performing Artists. In addition to contributing different exhibits, the VPA program also helped with the showcase’s fashion show, which featured garments made out of recycled materials.

“I personally think that the role of art in sustainability is very underrated,” said May. “We’re at a point where there’s a lot of great technology that people are coming up with, but the limiting factor is our ability to imagine doing things differently. I think artists are the ones who can reach our imaginations and help us figure out how to do that.”

May was satisfied with the overall turnout at the event, but plans to hold it earlier in the semester next year, so students won’t be as bogged down with finals.

By 5:30 p.m., May estimated that about 800 people had probably come and gone. She set a goal of 1,000 people, and with two events left to go, she said they were going to come close.

Students who participated in the showcase were glad to get the opportunity to talk with people in other disciplines about sustainability.

“This is a good venue for showing different types of pieces,” said Jennifer Chan, a graduate student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Chan was a part of a group that created a model of Onondaga Lake, identifying ways to restore its utility and get people to use it more. “The showcase is a good way to create dialogue. It’s been rewarding meeting other people,” she said.

Basit Naeem, a graduate student in Engineering and Computer Science, said the event allowed students to show off their work and see the work of others.

“Events like this give an opportunity to students to show what they’ve learned and what potential they carry,” he said.

The people who did come found the event to be thought-provoking. Some wanted more time to fully take everything in.

“All of the exhibits were really cool,“ said Andra Leimanis, who came with her daughter, Bizma. “I wish it were going on for more than one day because I won’t have time to see them all.”

The event had already inspired them to change some of their habits, said Leimanis. She said she was committed to using both sides of every piece of paper. Bizma said she was no longer going to leave the water running while brushing her teeth -- small changes that could add up if enough people do them.







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