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Promoting Sustainability: How Student Organizations at CNU Transformed Construction Fencing Into Art

What is the Fence Painting? 

The construction of the new academic building near Luter Hall is quite a sight. Have you noticed the fence facing the Warwick Residence Hall? If not, you should take a look. If you have, but you are not sure about the meaning behind the fence painting and how it began, I am here to tell you! The Grounds Department, the Center for Sustainability in Education and Orientation, and Student Involvement (OSI) were the hosts of the fence painting event held in the Fall semester. A second round of fence painting was organized this Spring to allow student organizations that had not signed up the first time to participate. This year's theme was "Water Conservation and Sustainability." According to OSI, the goal of this theme was to, “educate and bring awareness to the issues of water contamination and water conservation because as students, there are actions we can take to reduce the amount of water we consume.” On March 22nd, student organizations gathered to paint the remaining 15 panels. We contacted several of these organizations to learn about their experiences with the fence painting process and the inspiration behind their designs. We received feedback from 8 groups. Let's hear a little bit from each about their work and experience!

Campus Catholic Ministries: 

“Our design was the biblical figure, Moses, who is shown parting the Red Sea. We wanted to connect a biblical story with the water conservation theme. Moses holds “powerful imagery” and was everyone’s favorite link. The experience was super fun and bonding.”


“Painting the fence took much longer than we anticipated, with the texture of the fence fabric providing a unique challenge! We had lots of help from members, however, and were able to complete the painting within the allotted time. The great part about this project was that everyone could help in the way they wanted to; Some people only helped brainstorm and never held a paintbrush, others focused on solid colors and the base coat, and a few members did the bulk of the detail painting.” 

Captains Educational Enrichment Fund: 

“Our design is a stock chart of sustainability - specifically water and oceanic sustainability. CEEF is an investment club and our members wanted to show a link between the club's passion and how we can use it to highlight sustainability.”

Alpha Delta Pi: 

“Our design was our 'mascot', Alphie the Lion, wearing an ADPi letter crewneck with his hand on a water spigot turning off the water that is draining the world. One of our sisters drew out a sketch of the design when we were given the theme of water conservation which is what we used for the panel.” 

SCUBA Club: 

“We had fun and our club is very passionate about growing our numbers and showcasing what we have to offer. Our design inspiration was the recent incidents involving whales washing up in the area due to trash and discarded nets. The club really wanted to highlight their passion for the water and its preservation and to showcase the diversity of what you can do through diving.” 

OSI and PLP Adventure: 

Our design is 1 large boat with both OSI members and PLP members. The joint team wanted to showcase how both organizations work together to help incoming freshmen during setting sail and how the entire process is an “adventure” while also tying in the importance of water conservation.” 

Pokémon Go Club: 

“The experience was fun and bonding. Our design is Pikachu holding up a water bottle with a message underneath reading “Catch all Trash.” Our club wanted to bring together one of our favorite games and water conservation. We want to encourage people to join our club and also “catch” and collect trash that may affect our surrounding bodies of water, and fight for cleaner oceans.” 

Car Club: 

The president of CNUs Car Club stated, “We decided to make our design about conserving water while washing your car! It includes a blue car on a grey background with water droplets around it! We came up with the design as a club to promote the project’s theme of conserving water and natural resources. We wanted to relate our club to the theme and decided upon water conservation while washing your vehicle. I had such a great time working on this project and hope the OSI plans more like this in the future! I loved collaborating with the OSI as well as other organizations to brighten up this spot on campus while they work on constructing the Luter addition.”

As students and members of a sustainable community, this project emphasized taking action to raise awareness about reducing water consumption as a means to enhance the environment. Through art, organizations were able to convey a meaningful message while also tapping into their creative sides to add vibrancy to the campus construction. If you have the chance, take a moment to admire the designs and congratulate anyone you know in the organizations for their hard work!

Written by: Harper Minarik

Photos by: Ana Cernock


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