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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Promoting Environmental Sustainability Through Art


With the increasing prevalence of environmental degradation, promoting environmental sustainability is imperative in order to ensure natural resources are utilized in a responsible manner that indefinitely preserves renewability. While the University of California Merced has made notable efforts to contribute to promoting such sustainability, the aesthetic of its campus lacks prominent features of nature allowing its community to connect with the natural environment. This proposal introduces an innovative and practical program as a solution for this, in which environmental sustainability would be promoted through student-led art projects displayed throughout campus. By receiving funding from various campus-related organizations, this cost effective and inclusive program would grant $1,000 to a designated student committee each year to create sustainability-oriented artwork. As the results of existing research demonstrates art’s potential to provoke powerful reactions, the student-led art produced by this program could compel influential reactions from the UC Merced community that reminds and encourages them to pursue sustainable lifestyles. Going further, this project would have several other significant benefits by providing artistic and administrative opportunities for students, raising awareness to environmental and social justice issues, increasing the quality of the campus’ appearance, and more. Additionally, this could all be achieved while maintaining the preservation of the university’s existing structure and its ability to blend in with its surrounding environment through strategic placement of these artworks.

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