Retriever article about the Trashmonster!

SEA and students turn trash into new recyclable sculpture

By Nayana Davis, Staff Writer

Despite chilly temperatures and periodic rain, members of the Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA) gathered together with friends on a late Saturday morning for the now-annual tradition of building the “Trashmonster.”

09 trashmonster

09 trashmonster

The previous day, SEA, with the help of several of their fellow student organizations, including the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) Fraternity, the Bioethics Students Association, and the Pre-Med Society, completed an expedition around campus collecting trash in preparation for the next day’s construction. The students were also assisted by UMBC staff members including Darryl Wolod, Director of “True Grit’s” dining hall, Tom DeLuca, Chartwells’ district manager, and other Chartwells’ employees who were scrounging around dressed in business suits.

When the students returned on Saturday, they were confronted with the fruits of the previous day’s labor – a massive mound of trash. Among the pile were the usual suspects, including pizza boxes, water bottles, tennis balls, and many, many of the disposable soda cups from The Commons. However, the students uncovered some rather out of the ordinary items as well, including a Winnie-the-Pooh kite, a hookah discovered near the Hillside apartments, and large metal pipes found behind the library.

The group began their endeavor by weighing the trash. Six scales were brought out and the volunteers began by calculating their own individual weights. Then, carrying the bags of trash, the participants again stood upon the scales and subtracted their weights from the total in order to determine the weight of the trash. At the end of weighing, SEA was surprised to discover that they had collected 899 pounds of trash, including a 125-pound tire!

Although a few rudimentary sketches were drawn, the students mainly worked on building up the structure as they went along. There were certainly a few failed efforts but students nonetheless persevered, with great laughs and enjoyment, in building up their monster. They began with three different-sized tires as the base. Across the grounds, a few students worked tirelessly on connecting three large metal pipes together to erect upon the tires. A large metal canister with a hanging rope was then placed over top the pipes, and slowly but surely the monster began to take form.

Large black bags of trash were strategically places at the center of the structure and covered with mesh poultry-wire to form the body. A few students then cut up some of the pizza boxes and attached them to thin wooden boards to serve as the monster’s wings. At the other end of the site, some other students worked on creating a tail using a shopping cart, toy wagon, crushed safety cones, and the hookah pipe. As a finishing touch, the students used part of a crate to create a face using tennis balls for eyes and a small safety cone for a beak.

Upon attaching the final elements, the students stood around and marveled at their successful work. A two-man drum circle provided rhythmic tunes in background using shopping carts, safety cones, a giant water bottle, and a wagon. Although the work was a bit strenuous, the students hardly seemed to mind. They reveled in thinking up new and exciting additions for their creation, spending time with one another, and enjoying the refreshments provided, which included bagels, muffins, and apple cider.

SEA President and environmental science major, Becca Reeves, commented that she was delighted to see all the different individuals and student organizations working together. Fellow SEA member and environmental science major Brandon Cottom added that over fifty people contributed to the efforts in creating the trash monster. Eddie Chen, yet another environmental science major, added that SEA plans to keep the Trashmonster up until Halloween, and afterwards the students hope to recycle what they can, by donating the metal pipes to the physical plant, and will then dispose of the remaining items.

On October 25th, SEA will be hosting a tree-planting event in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Those interested in this or any other SEA events or meetings should contact Becca Reees at rreeves1@umbc.edu or check out SEA’s website, https://umbcsea.wordpress.com.

On October 25th, SEA will be hosting a tree-planting event in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Those interested in this or any other SEA events or meetings should contact Becca Reees at rreeves1@umbc.edu or check out SEA’s website, https://umbcsea.wordpress.com.

 

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