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Dumpster art created to trigger recycling

Students now have a visual reminder to recycle, and it’s a big one.

Two students, Bailey Broussard and Zainab Mariah, have painted two recycling dumpsters located behind the Mary and John Gray Library, to communicate sustainability and “trigger” students to recycle.

“Students have so many ways to get information on social media, but we thought we needed to put something in front of them,” said Alicen Flosi, instructor and director of sustainability. “The dumpsters are a great big thing in front of them right where they see them that reminds them to recycle.”

Broussard and Mariah were the winners of the “Dumpster Art Contest,” sponsored by Waste Management in support of LU’s sustainability efforts. Both students, who consider themselves hobby artist, entered the contest last spring by submitting their sketched plans to make the dumpsters beautiful and representative of the 2020 Earth Day theme, “Protect our Species.”

Both winners received cash awards and all of the paint, paint brushes and supplies needed to decorate the dumpsters.

Broussard, a fifth-year corporate communications major, entered the contest to combine two things she’s passionate about – recycling and painting. Broussard Dumpster

“I love the environment and have always painted,” said Broussard, who painted the City of Beaumont’s traffic utility box at College and Lindberg. “I have my own whimsical style but hope my painting makes people think about how they can be environmentally friendly.”

Broussard’s dumpster features bees and giant honeycombs. “To me it says, ‘Big Red goes green, and ‘save the bees,’” said Broussard.

Mariah, a sophomore chemical engineering major originally from Dubai, chose to feature two species near extinction, the panda and the dodo bird on her dumpster.

“I painted the Earth submerged in water that is filled with trash,” said Mariah. “The waters in the ocean have been polluted and that affects the species. That’s the message I hope people will perceive when they see the box Mariah Dumpsterand I hope it makes people think about how actions affect the environment.”

Around the campus there are 15 recycling containers easily identified with by a yellow top and recycling information displayed on the front. The containers specific to recycling are strategically placed next to solid waste containers, according to Holly Slott, a liaison between Waste Management and LU.

“LU is doing a good job of recycling, but we hope this project triggers students to recycle more,” said Slott. “It is so easy when hustling and bustling to classes and you have your lunch trash with you to just throw it in a trash container.  Hopefully when students see the dumpsters, it will trigger them to say, ‘Oh, I have a brown paper bag. I need to put that in recycling.’ The dumpsters are there to create awareness to help everyone get in the habit of recycling.”

LU’s recycling program is one of the sustainability efforts of the LU Green Squad, an organization for everyone in the Lamar University community – students, staff and faculty. The organization helps with recycling, planning green events on campus and spreading the word about sustainability.

“We’re planning another big Earth Day, a basketball green day, a baseball green day and possibly a dorm contest,” said Flosi. “There are a lot of opportunities this year for involvement and for helping Big Red go green.”