Sept. 7, 2010

Decorated trash stations help beautify Collegetown

Two waste and recycling stations, decorated with art by a local resident and a Cornell undergraduate, now grace College Avenue and Dryden Road, thanks to the efforts of Collegetown ART (Art, Recycling and Trash cans).

Collegetown ART, a project of the student-run Sustainability Hub, is intended to discourage littering, encourage recycling and help beautify Collegetown.

Last year, students raised funds and sponsored an art contest for the waste receptacles. The art of the top two winners -- local artist Helena Cooper and Tyler Armstrong '11 -- decorates the housings.

Cooper's design, located in front of and sponsored by the Kaplan Test Prep Center on College Avenue, features her close-up photographs of Ithaca gorges. Armstrong's work, installed before the empty Green Flowers storefront on Dryden Road, depicts scenes of the Cornell bear. Two more trash/recycling stations will be installed in other Collegetown locations in coming months as funds are raised.

"This semester we hope to raise funds by asking local businesses to sponsor our project," said Andrea Sanders '11. They will have the option of either sponsoring a trash and recycling station for $900 or part of one for $450. In return, one of the six panels of the station will bear the business's logo.

"It's really a great deal for businesses -- they help fund the purchase of a couple of trash cans, and in return, they receive a prime advertisement spot as well as recognition for helping a good cause," Sanders said.

The student group also is launching a campaign this year to educate Collegetown residents on proper waste disposal practices.

"We believe that a major component of our project that will ensure the success and sustainability of our efforts lies in education of the community about what to recycle, where to buy trash tags and when and where to place their trash and recycling out for pickup," said Chelsea Clarke '10, who launched the project last year with Whitney Larson '10.

Students affiliated with Collegetown ART are working with Tompkins County Solid Waste and the Landlord's Association to spread the word about waste issues in Collegetown. They also have been partnering with the city of Ithaca, the Collegetown Neighborhood Council and various Cornell departments and businesses to sustain the project for the long run.

To date, the group has raised $6,485. Their goal: to raise $2,200 more to reach their total goal of $8,685.