The Art and Learning Center promotes sustainability through Upcycle Revolution

By Grace Dille

The Art and Learning Center in Stamp Student Union teamed with the Office of Sustainability Sept. 20 to host its first Wednesday Workshop event of the year, Upcycle Revolution, where students were able to unleash their creative side by designing artwork constructed from recycled materials.

Students who attended created origami eco-flowers from old maps, as well as new works of art on used canvas.

Megan May, a senior art history major and Front Desk Attendant at the Art Learning Center, teaches attendees how to create origami eco-flowers.

“These canvases were previously used and we painted over them with this thicker white base called gesso, which is meant for you to reuse canvases,” said Julia Adet, a junior business management and communications major and a front desk assistant at the Art and Learning Center. “A lot of these [canvases] were just kind of sitting here going to waste, and now they’re complete for people to use them.”

Although the ALC has never hosted a Wednesday Workshop with the Office of Sustainability, they belong to its Green Office Program, which works to ensure that the studios are operating in an eco-friendly way. The Office of Sustainability has also given the ALC a grant, which the center is using for future sustainability-related workshops, supplies and training.

Jordan Brown, a junior psychology and professional writing double major and ALC student manager, said the center plans on incorporating sustainable efforts into their upcoming Wednesday Workshops, and that they hope to make Upcycle Revolution an annual event. 

“We have all of these bins, and we’re looking at [materials] we already have, before we order something for an event or workshop,” Brown said. “If we can, we’ll find [more] ways to promote sustainability.”

Sharan Erukulla, a graduate student studying telecommunications, moved from India to Maryland last month. He said he was happy this event was put into place because he currently has no art supplies at home.

“Back when I was home [in India], my sister used to do a lot of crafts, so I used to make them with her a lot,” Erukulla said. “This place [the Art and Learning Center] looks really cool.”

Amanda O’Shaughnessy, a freshman civil engineering major, said she was tempted to attend the Upcycle Revolution event because she appreciated the ALC’s push toward making sustainable choices.

“I like to do art, and I haven’t done any since college started,” O’Shaughnessy said. “I was intrigued by the sustainability aspect of this, and reusing stuff, because civil and environmental engineering is very similar to sustainability.”

The ALC has planned the majority of this year’s Wednesday Workshops already.

“Everything that we’re doing is with a sustainable mindset,” Audet said. “Now art lovers can attend these workshops and not feel bad about wasting resources to create their art.”

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