As the largest university in the country Arizona State University inevitably makes quite a bit of waste. Sure we have a Zero Waste initiative, and we recycle and compost, but there are often items, large and small, that get overlooked. Students are helping to fill the gaps.
In spring 2018 a one-credit course was created as a cross-disciplinary effort between the School of Sustainability (SOS), University Sustainability Practices (USP), and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA) to bring students of different disciplines together to collaborate on a sustainability-focused art project. Students were charged with the task of developing a prototype of an outdoor common space for the Tempe campus. They focused on waste, recycling, and circular resources and were then released to complete the project with guidance from a team of staff from SOS, USP, and HIDA. The intention of the final installation was to engage campus visitors, students, staff, and faculty who move through common spaces at ASU. Groups were encouraged to consider innovative materials and construction processes for their installations.
Class time comprised of talks by artists, designers, and sustainability experts to give students an idea of the kinds of projects they could create, the specific issues they could focus on, and free time to work on their designs. Once student teams moved through development stages, they received approval to construct their proposed installation. Students were judged by ASU student peers, selected staff, and faculty. Funding and scholarship opportunities were also available for this group and were judged in a competition setting.