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Design and Sustainability

Western students combine eco-friendly causes with graphic design talent

By Allison Boyer | Freelancer
On May 9, 2012

Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, and permits fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.


Jennifer Bracy from the Art Department has worked with the school's Green Wolf Sustainability Club before, but this time she is putting her graphic design students on the job. This term, her graphic design students are helping to create things like posters and brochures to help spread awareness for three different environmental issues around the campus and community.


Bracy's class was split up into three different groups that were put together based on each person's different skill set. The first group worked on awareness for a bike co-op, the second group worked to educate others on campus energy reduction with "Beyond Coal," and the third group worked to promote the Western Campus Garden.


The bike co-op group is working with the Green Wolf Sustainability Club to help promote a bike community on campus. There would be the possibility of free bike tune ups, rentable bikes, bike seminars and better bike storage.


Graphic design student  Emma Rothley says the benefits to more people biking would not only reduce the emission from cars for the sake of the environment and the physical health benefits for each person if they were to exercise more, but also the ability to have more room for bike parking (20 bikes can fit where one car can).


The "Beyond Coal" project works to reduce campus energy. Coal is mainly transported by way of train, but this can cause many dangerous effects to the towns that the trains pass through. The coal emits fumes that can cause anything from lung cancer, to mercury poisoning, acid rain, or allergies from dust.


Kelly Gray, who is working to help make posters and pamphlets on the subject, said that some "alternative methods to coal would be hydrothermal energy (water power) or wind power energy (fields of windmills)."


Many students may be surprised to learn that there is a campus garden at Western Located on the side of the library, the Western Campus Garden gives its fresh food and produce to anyone during harvest season. With the help of the Marion Polk Food Share organization, graphic designer, Micheal Nguyen hopes to bring the awareness of the school garden and the possibility of planting parties and the sharing of fresh food to low income families through the use of reusable posters.


Helping with the collaboration project, student Elise Nibler says that, for the low income families, the campus garden helps. "It is about food security. About knowing where your next meal comes from."


With four or five students to a group, the graphic design class is able to help the Green Wolf Sustainability Club a lot in just the three and a half weeks that they work on these projects. Jennifer Bracy said that at least once a year she likes to work with organizations that she cares about, organizations that help promote better change for the campus and community.


She  hopes to bring awareness to these problems that the Green Wolf Sustainability Club works to help fix, and that, "sustainability takes many forms, and there are countless ways that design can help educate, motivate and facilitate positive changes across a broad spectrum of people." Everything the Green Wolf Sustainability Club is doing is helping make the campus or community a better place.


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