Loyola University Maryland Uses River of Recyclables to Examine Consumption and Sustainability

In the spring of 2016, Loyola University Maryland partnered with Baltimore activist artist Bridget Parlato to create an art installation and catalyst for conversation on sustainability named the “River of Recyclables.” The public art project, a collaborative effort involving students from Loyola’s studio arts program, members of the Environmental Action Club, faculty and Taylor Casalena, a staff member of the university’s sustainability initiatives, used more than 3,500 plastic bottles and cans to create a river in the quad at the heart of Loyola’s campus. Casalena said they “designed the project to involve and inspire the Loyola community on the topic of sustainability,” with the goal of “becoming stronger stewards of our environment.”

The “river” served as a conversation starter for hundreds of students and university community members to reflect on sustainability questions large and small, from practical awareness of recycling in Baltimore to larger questions of caring for our common home raised in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. This video captures images of the art installation as well as reflections on its impact: 

The Fall 2016 magazine Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education looks at ways Jesuit institutions have responded to Laudato Si’, featuring initiatives at Fairfield University, Wheeling Jesuit University, and Canisius College. For the online edition click here.

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