Sunday, May 19, 2024

From trash to treasure – Two clubs collaborate on a common cause 

Andreas-Jonathan Shuler PAVA Treasurer uses a paint marker to create recycled artwork in Myers 224 beside a pile of supplies.


By Cinara Marquis

Since the beginning of the fall semester, the Plattsburgh Visual Arts Association and the Botany Club have been sowing the seeds for a community cleanup event.

The two groups hosted a cleanup of the Plattsburgh City Beach. The waste that was found will be used to make recycled artwork.

Isabella Johnston, president of the Botany Club, said she was excited about the event.

“I really wanted to find some way to collaborate the arts with science,” Johnston said. “I myself have always been intrigued by the arts and this event was my way of exploring it.”

On the day of the event, May 5, the group was rained out and was not able to go to the beach.

That didn’t stop them from making art, though.

Alexander Finkey, PAVA’s vice president, said the event was still a success. The groups used leftover material from PAVA’s art locker and some even brought trash from home, such as plastic water bottles and wrappers.

“We were like, go crazy, have fun and make whatever you want to make,” Finkey said. “Everybody got to sit down and just enjoy and talk to each other, so it was really fun.”

Creating art out of overlooked objects like trash reframed the waste as something with multiple uses Finkey said.

From reusing food containers to reutilizing metal cans as planters, every action taken is one that reduces pollution.

“Waste is such a big issue for so many reasons, especially recycling and plastic waste, because we have so many problems with it on the planet right now,” Finkey said. “So if there’s ways that we can make events and talk about stuff like that, it gets more into the public eye and it’s more prevalent; it’s not scary to talk about.”

Change happens only when people talk about an issue.

“Doing anything here on campus has to start with awareness, because how do you get people to care if they don’t know what they’re talking about or what’s going on,” Finkey said.

Cleanups, reusing and recycling are all ways that everyday people can assist in reducing waste.

“I think it’s essential to host events to spread awareness about pollution since people nowadays aren’t aware of the extent that the planet is damaged by human waste,” Johnston said.

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