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2012 Archives

Recyled art contest asks ‘What can this become?’

SMU RecycleMania continues - Art contest entries due by Wednesday

'Happiness in Wood' by Nolberto Salas
2011 Winner: "Happiness in Wood' by Nolberto Salas

March 19, 2012

DALLAS (SMU) – Artists have long understood the beauty in found objects, and SMU’s Sustainability Committee is challenging the Hilltop to embrace the same idea through the annual “Art of Recycling” contest.

The eco-friendly art contest is open to all current students, faculty and staff, and is organized to support SMU’s participation in the annual RecycleMania competition between North American colleges and universities.  The art contest winner will take home a heavy-duty, 18-speed mountain bike.

Entries will be judged on “Best Use of Recycled Materials,” “Theme” and “Overall Appearance.” At least 75 percent of each entry should be made from reused materials that otherwise would end up in a trash or recycling bin.

The size of each entry should not exceed 3 feet by 3 feet, and should be able to fit through the doors at the Umphrey Lee RFoC (Real Food on Campus) dining hall. Each entry should include a brief description of the items used in the artwork, as well as its theme (if applicable), title and artist contact information. Entries, which may be submitted by an individual or a group, are due by noon, Wednesday, March 21, on the first floor of the Laura Lee Blanton Building.

“The best use of recycled material I have seen to date was a curtain made out of old CDs,” said Kelly Milazzo, the Sustainability Committee member organizing the competition.  “Old CDs and DVDs are very versatile when it comes to art and even functional items. I’ve seen those shiny silver discs used to make wind chimes, wall art, clock and coasters. When searching for medium for your art piece look around at everyday items that we have in abundance and think, “What can that become.”

Milazzo suggests that the artwork found at can be a great source of inspiration.

Last year’s winning entry was a wood sculpture titled “Happiness in Wood” that was created by SMU carpenter Nolberto Salas using scrap wood and boards, most of which he retrieved from a campus trash bin. This year’s winner will be notified via e-mail and top entries will be displayed at Umphrey Lee’s RFoC. 

More information about the Art of Recycling Contest is available by contacting Kelly Milazzo at

RecycleMania 2012 is an eight-week competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote recycling to their campus communities. SMU and other schools across the United States and Canada who compete in RecycleMania 2012 will report by weight the amount of recycled material and trash collected each week.  Participating schools are ranked in various categories from week to week through March 31.

SMU RecycleMania is sponsored by the student Environmental Society and the SMU Sustainability Committee. The SMU Sustainability Committee is a group of faculty, students and staff who promote sustainability and increased environmental awareness on campus.  The committee sponsors activities and events that encourage lifelong environmentally conscious behavior and works to promote wise use of campus resources.  Find more about SMU sustainability at