A giant, snaking cardboard display wall erected in the Schine Student Center’s third floor Panasci Lounge provided the backdrop for the SU Showcase 2011 Green Museum on May 2. This striking focal point framed the many student Showcase posters and displays while also creating an inviting, organic atmosphere that drew visitors in and prompted them to explore the diverse projects.
Over 100 Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry undergraduate and graduate students displayed their sustainability projects and research at SU Showcase. Schine bustled with activity most of the day as more than 700 visitors checked out the green museum as well as vendor and other display tables at the atrium market set up on the second floor.
“Showcase 2011 represented a remarkable collaboration across many disciplines and departments at SU and ESF,” says Rachel May, Showcase 2011 co-chair and SU coordinator of sustainability education. “I think we achieved our goal of attracting a diverse and creative set of student work on sustainability, while engaging a broad audience. This was the first attempt at the ‘green museum’ idea, and I think we can build it into something even more impressive in future years. I’m particularly grateful to all the faculty and staff, especially Food Services, the Bookstore, Campus Planning and Publications, for their enthusiastic support of this effort.”
The depth and variety of student projects was impressive. From highway design alternatives for the elevated portion of I-81 running through downtown Syracuse and bio-fuel made with algae to several sustainable product prototypes and proposals for ecotourism and lifestyle changes, the students’ highly creative ideas and presentations engaged the Showcase visitors. The temporary cardboard wall was also the result of some creative and sustainable thinking. Architecture Associate Professor Brett Snyder and a team of students from across campus developed this idea as a way to avoid mounting all of the posters on Styrofoam. Their makeshift wall was both functional and attractive, and all materials will eventually be reused and then ultimately recycled someday.
"The SU Showcase was awesome! A few of us on the DOT team were talking about how great it was to set up and show SU how large the impact really is when each member of the community commits to one small sustainable practice," said Joe Hanko, SU-SIFE "Do One Thing" (DOT) initiative leader and freshman Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises major. "The other tables and exhibits set up in the Panasci Lounge were impressive in their range, benefits and potential. A big thanks to everyone who made the SU Showcase a success."
Scheduled events held adjacent to the Green Museum in Schine 304 included the “Voices in the Wind” puppetry performance by SU students and Van Duyn Elementary fifth graders, screening of the First Annual Sustainability Video Exhibition and presentations by SU Showcase Fellows. The daylong Showcase activities wrapped up with a “Politics of Environmentalism” panel discussion that ran during a dinner honoring the Showcase Fellows, and presentations by SU faculty on visualizing climate change.
Other sustainably creative SU Showcase features got some attention, as well. Twice during the day students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts put on a recycled fashion show. They paraded throughout Schine in outfits made from recycled and upcycled materials to put a different twist on eco-friendly fashion. The Art for a Livable Future display in Schine’s third floor Menschel Gallery featured photography and multimedia art by SU and SUNY-ESF students, faculty and staff. In addition, Zeke Leonard from Interior Design organized construction of a willow sculpture on the Quad.
A number of scheduled events that lead up to Showcase included a local food dinner in the dining halls, a film series, two speakers, and a concert by the indie band Big Tree. Unfortunately, there were glitches encountered with getting the films and an early morning speaker on the day of Showcase. Still, the planners expect that in the future SU Showcase will continue to strive to bring together multiple events over a longer time frame than just one day.
“I thought the event was a great opportunity for students to display their research and for students to learn about research happening on their own campus,” said Michael Amadori, SU Showcase Fellow and SUNY-ESF Ecological Engineering graduate student. “The questions I got during and after my presentation addressed some items that I can add to future presentations… I had a great time and I hope the event continues.”