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Visual Arts Course Decreases Carbon Footprint

Faculty member, Esteban Cabeza de Baca, and his students planted several trees on campus as a way to engage in sustainability.

Several native tree saplings were planted in the meadow by Central 4 and The Olde apartment complex by faculty member Esteban Cabeza de Baca and students from his “Unsettling the Painted Space” and “Colonization and Color” Visual Arts courses. Some of the native species include Maple, Sassafras and Poplar trees.

Professor Cabeza de Baca approached Facilities with the idea of the tree planting to offset the carbon footprint of the materials that will be utilized by the course throughout the semester. All students were involved in every aspect of planting, from weeding to digging to planting to even encouraging their fellow classmates. Once the class finished with the planting, they set up their supplies in the nearby lawn space and began painting. While their painting assignment was an open assignment, many students used the planting and surrounding greenery as inspiration.

Several students were asked, “How did you feel about this experience?”

“It was my first time planting a tree, so it was a very fun experience for me just getting into the dirt, digging everything up, wetting the soil. I liked feeling the moisture between my fingers. I worked at a camp over the summer, surrounded by a lot of greenery, so just having a lot more of that around here is really nice. It makes me want to buy seeds and have my own plants!”

“I kind of just realized that I haven’t done anything like this in a really long time. I don’t even remember the last time I went and planted something…I used to help my mom in her garden and had that kind of contact with the Earth, but it’s just been a really long time. So this was nice to remind myself that I can do this, it’s a possibility. It was really fun!”

“It’s cool because I’ve been trying to think about how to connect art with the environment. It’s nice to remind yourself of the value”