April 19, 2011

Student Initiative to Keep Collegetown Clean

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Cornell’s Sustainability Hub is trying to keep  the streets of Collegetown clean through their waste reduction project Collegetown ART (Art, Recycling, and Trash cans).  The student-run project started with Chelsea Clarke ’10 and Whitney Larsen ’10. They have  installed two new pairs of trash receptacles brightly decorated with local art on College Avenue and Dryden Road.   The new receptacles have clearly labeled recycling and trash units to help reduce litter and promote proper waste disposal practices in C-town.Last spring the group held an art contest drawing in winning submissions from Cornell undergraduates as well as Ithaca artists.  Portraits of Ithaca’s serene gorges, taken by local photographer and contest winner Helena Cooper, adorn the first pair of waste cans placed outside of Kaplan Test Prep Center.  The second pair, outside of the empty Green Flowers store, feature images of the Cornell Bear taking part in the environmental cleanup and were designed by Tyler Armstrong ’11.   As of now Collegetown ART has raised about $6,485 through funds, grants, and sponsorships, for their aesthetic operation.  The group still plans on raising an additional $2,200 to decorate two more locations with trash receptacles donning the artwork of their six other contest winners.   Collegetown stores can help the urban art project through sponsorship of a trash can and in return have their business advertised on one of the six sides of the receptacle.  By working with local businesses, the group helps foster a relationship between Cornell students and long-term residents.  According to Donna Jin ’12, who currently helps run Collegetown ART along with Christina Copeland ‘11 and Alex Bond ‘12, the Collegetown community has provided positive feedback on the new waste cans.  “People have said that they really like the new trash receptacles,” Jin said.  “They think they’re a great improvement from the run-down cans that used to be there.”  The new, more attractive waste cans are meant to send a message about the importance of waste disposal to the community.  “The new decorated trash cans are a unique idea that you don’t see in a lot of places,” said James Frichner ’13, “They really embrace the environmental ideals of Ithaca,” added Cindy Wang ’11, both residents of Sheldon Court, a Collegetown-based Cornell residency hall.   In addition to bringing public art to Collegetown’s streets, Collegetown ART has also made educational contributions to its local residents.  Members of the group have visited households in the area and helped inform the people on what aspects of their garbage should be recycled and on where to purchase trash tags, which are necessary for trash removal in Tompkins County.    “[Our project] raises awareness about the importance of recycling and reducing wastes on the streets of Collegetown and encourages collaboration between the residents of  C-town, Cornell students, and the city of Ithaca to further promote sustainability,” Jin said. She also spoke of the long term benefits that the public art would bring to the area. “With additional art contests and new trash receptacles Collegetown ART can continue to keep the Collegetown community interested in waste reduction,” she said.

Original Author: Nicholas St. Fleur