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Recycled materials turn to art in Ohio State, Coca-Cola competition

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The Sports and Wellness Scholars' winning sculpture at the Art of Recycling competition Wednesday. Credit: Courtesy of Kalika Litwin

The Sports and Wellness Scholars’ winning sculpture at the Art of Recycling competition Wednesday.
Credit: Courtesy of Kalika Litwin

There are plenty of ways to create artwork: paint, clay and cloth to name a few. But participants in the Art of Recycling competition created art using a less conventional medium.

In an effort to promote sustainability and recycling at Ohio State, Coca-Cola and the Office of Student Life held the competition Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. on the RPAC plaza, where contestants made art from recycled materials.

Ten teams participated in two categories at the event — freestanding and wearable.

For the freestanding art category, each team was given 100 recycled Coke bottles and four hours to create a sculpture. The wearable arts teams had to come up with an outfit made of at least 50 percent recycled materials and have it finished before noon Wednesday.

“Coca-Cola invited us to participate. They approached us and saw if we wanted to partner,” said Carlos Lugo, the program manager of Energy Management and Sustainability in the Office of Student Life.

Jennifer Richmond, the regional communications director at Coca-Cola, said a long-standing relationship with OSU prompted their interest in bringing the event to campus.

“This was something our Ohio team thought was really important to bring to campus,” she said. “It is a way for us to raise awareness around our social commitment and the importance of recycling and just get students energized and excited about all the great things you can do to reuse materials.”
Richmond was also on the panel of judges for the artwork.

The art competition was all about having fun while teaching sustainability habits to students, said Tom Reeves, the director of Energy and Sustainability at OSU.

“The Office of Student Life wants to give students education for citizenship. Sustainability is all about figuring out ways we can keep living and growing in our current culture without damaging things for future generations,” Reeves said. “It’s a fun way to increase awareness and say this is something that you don’t just have to do, but you can have a fun time as well.”

The freestanding art teams assembled their bottle sculpture outside in front of the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion from noon to 4 p.m. The Sports and Wellness scholars team, among other teams at the competition, took turns rotating their members throughout the afternoon.

“There are 10 of us all together gradually doing it and contributing ideas,” said participant Jevon Mason, a second-year in industrial and systems engineering. “We wanted to do a rec sports idea. We are kind of modeling it after our adviser.”

A fashion show was held at 4:30 p.m. to display the wearable arts outfits. Models were provided free hair and makeup by students from the Aveda Institute. Materials for the outfits ranged from old laundry bags to recycled newspaper. The winners were announced at the conclusion of the fashion show.

Laura Uribe, a non-student participant won the wearable category with a high-low dress she made from cardboard Coke boxes. She received a $100 gift certificate to Rag-O-Rama, a secondhand store at 3301 N. High St., for the win.

The Sports and Wellness scholars won the freestanding competition with their sculpture of a man lunging and pumping iron, complete with a drawstring rec sports bag on its back and a ball cap on its head. The team received a $50 gift card courtesy of Coca-Cola for their win.

“We feel pretty accomplished,” said Karissa Stone, a fourth-year in biology, of her team’s win. “The other ones were pretty good. It was good competition, but I think ours was the most detailed.”

The sculpture is set to be displayed in the RPAC for a few days following the event.

Environmental sustainability efforts are an ongoing campus-wide practice that goes far beyond a fun competition, said Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs.

“Sustainability is at the core of so much that Ohio State does. It’s not one department or one area. It’s every department and every area,” Isaacs said. “All the student organizations involved in various efforts can really set the tone for the campus and lead the way both by example and the work that their student organizations do.”

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