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Campus Sustainability Conference

Three Communication Media and Technology graduate students, Bryan Christiansen,

Attendees during tour of MCC’s sustainable building upgrade.
Attendees during tour of MCC’s sustainable building upgrade.

Sandy Nadal & Abel Rondon, presented on “Visual Communication and its Impact on Sustainability Decisions” at the SWBR Architect’s 5th Annual Campus Sustainability Conference this past Friday, October 26th.

Solar panels at MCC
Solar panels at MCC

The conference is intended to help professional engineers, facilities personnel, architects, sustainability directors, etc. from universities in Central and Western NY learn from each others experiences and challenges. Professionals from University of Rochester, Monroe Community College, Binghamton University, Nazareth College and Rochester Institute of Technology attended (including, Director of Sustainability Enid Cardinal, Director of Facilities, Sustainability & Conservation, Student Auxiliary Services Kurt Ingerick and Director of Facilities Services & Sustainability, National Technical Institute for the Deaf Christopher Knigga).

The main discussion point of this year’s conference was intended for colleagues to discuss what is being done to address existing building stock (or older less efficient buildings), in light of campuses trying to reduce their carbon footprint.

Bryan explaining some of the final designs
Bryan explaining some of the final designs

Though slightly different from the conference theme, the CMT students spoke about their effort to reduce energy consumption through human behavior when a building is already fairly energy efficient. In their case, they were focusing on getting students to use less energy in the Global Village dormitories through visual messaging and various forms of physical media.

The students were really well received and they were asked to continue sharing their research project’s results. They were also invited to share future projects at the conference in upcoming years. A few of the university representatives and Principal of SWBR Architects Junius R. Judson asked students to send additional printed materials.

Sandy concludes the presentation with great energy!
Sandy concludes the presentation with great energy!

Environmental Sustainability and Memorial Sites

Nathaniel Square Park photographed by Mallory Tabolt
Nathaniel Square Park photographed by Mallory Tabolt

This week, students in RIT’s Visual Communication course were asked to research a memorial monument and its significance in terms of placement, narrative, visual effects, and what the memorial site suggests is valued in that community. Students posted illustrations and their interpretations of these sites on the Visual Communication Illustrations Page.

One of the illustrations focused on Nathaniel Square Park, located at the corner of South Avenue and Alexander Street in Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood (Nathaniel Square Park Illustration). The park is a memorial site for Nathaniel Rochester, founder of Rochester, NY. “The South Wedge Environmental Enhancement Project (SWEEP), headed by community activist, now South Wedge Planning Committee (SWPC) board member Cheryl Stevens, worked for over seven years to transform the spot” (O’Donnell). The park was opened in 2006 after the SWPC managed to raise “$300,000 in state and corporate funds to build Nathaniel Square” (O’Donnell).  The statue is Nathaniel Square was created by sculptor Pepsy Kettavong who is also responsible for the creation of the Fredrick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony statues located in Rochester (O’Donnell).

Other illustrations focused on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Schiller Monument, and the George Eastman Memorial located near the entrance to Kodak Park.

O’Donnell, Nancy. “Nathaniel Square Received Coveted Design Award.” The Wedge. February-March 2012. <http://swpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/February-2012.pdf>.

Sustainability and Graphic Design

Phil Hamlett’s article Sustainability and Graphic Design, stresses the importance of getting the business community involved in sustainability practices. Hamlett states that “like it or not—since the business community and the capitalist system in which it operates sets the pace for society at large, acceptance here is crucial for any meaningful impact” (Hamlett, 2005, p. 185). Although some companies such as Toyota, The Body Shop, Aveda, American Apparel, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, and Starbuck’s have already caught on and implemented sustainability initiatives, there are still many others have yet “to recognize the inherent value in such behavior” (Hamlett, 2005, p. 186). This is where the designers come in.

Hamlett suggests that it is the role of graphic designers to help with sustainability initiatives and use “design as a vehicle for social change” (Hamlett, 2005, 188). He gives many suggestions for designers as to how they should move forward in addressing these issues, but the most important point that he makes is communicating the message. The article states that “there is an increasing need to explain these issues to a world eager to understand them” (Hamlett, 2005, 186). It is crucial that designers not only supply consumers with information about sustainability but also provide it to businesses.

After reading Hamlett’s article, students in RIT’s Visual Communication course posted images showing examples of the ways that graphic designers have contributed to promoting sustainability issues. Below are some of these images. For more images regarding this article and others being reviewed in the Visual Communication course please visit the Visual Communication Illustrations Page.

Posted by Amarilis Ramos Gonzalez
Posted by Amarilis Ramos Gonzalez

 

Posted by Lauren Palmieri
Posted by Lauren Palmieri

Project Design Decisions

After conducting interviews with undergraduate Visual Communications students and Greentopia attendees, the graduate students in RIT’s Visual Communications class, with the help of Professor Kelly Martin, Senior Sustainability Advisor Enid Cardinal, and Graphic Designer Ryan Rich have selected the marketing collateral that will be used to create awareness about sustainability on the RIT campus.

Graduate students in the Visual Communications course have spent the last four weeks determining which forms of the designs will be most effective in reaching undergraduate students residing on campus and creating awareness about sustainability. The designs are focused on delivering messages to students informing them of the importance of unplugging their electronics and turning their lights off.

These marketing materials include stickers for laptops, posters, vinyl clings for light switches, and small stickers that students can place on all of their electronic chargers. These materials were created with the hope of reminding students on the Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester campuses to turn off their lights and unplug their chargers.

The marketing materials will be distributed to RIT students after a short presentation during Global Village’s Community Hours in the upcoming weeks.