Office of Sustainability communicates information through art

Hannah Williford

Art prints of grackles and turtles on poster paper serve not only as decor for dorm rooms, but encourage environmentally friendly practices in a new initiative led by the Office of Sustainability.

The initiative is meant to stand apart from the heaps of pamphlets students receive from other organizations by being more visually appealing, said Kristin Phillips, Office of Sustainability communications coordinator. The back of the pamphlet encourages reducing waste and power consumption.

“(Flyers are) material that’s not kept,” Phillips said. “We’ve all grabbed a bunch of paper, and it’s just in our backpack and we just throw it away. … The idea is to make something that people will keep, so the information is always on hand.”

So far, Phillips said the responses to the prints have been positive, although the office has not tabled at any student events this fall. The prints are currently available inside the Office of Sustainability, and Phillips said some prints have been provided at staff tabling events. 

“A number of people said, ‘Oh, I saw those from across the room, and I came over to see what they were.… They all grabbed them and kept them,” Phillips said.

Public health sophomore Lal Lawmi said she would be more likely to keep something that is an art piece, because she is overwhelmed by the amount of information student organizations provide on Speedway.

“(My friends and I) go to school, and we see a bunch of words … because all the information people pass out is just words,” Lawmi said. “But we like art, (and) this is a cute decoration.”

The art comes as a contribution from Khristián Méndez Aguirre, theater graduate student and a summertime employee of the Office of Sustainability. Aguirre said he designed the prints at an environmental fair last year. 

Aguirre said he wanted to create something long lasting and believes people will keep beautiful things. 

“We really need to think about how can we get a message out there that is urgent and important but that is also really beautiful to appeal to people’s emotions as well,” Aguirre said. 

The prints will serve as a reminder of what is at stake, Aguirre said.

“The idea is to encourage all of campus tweak something in their daily life, in their office, in their eating habits, in their transportation methods … to make UT and the city of Austin more sustainable,” Phillips said.