Fairfield University students to construct rooftop art installation in support of global climate change policy


Fairfield University students will construct a large art installation on the rooftop of the Barone Campus Center (BCC) to raise awareness of global climate change. The project is in support of '350,' an international grass roots organization that is encouraging communities to promote the reduction of carbon emissions. Universities nationwide are also taking part in the awareness campaign in the hope of affecting the United Nations in its decisions about environmental reform, organizers said.

The Fairfield University community and the public are asked to donate old bed sheets, rugs, blankets and tarps in support of "The Bird's Eye View," as the network of art projects are known, which will have members of the campus community creating the number 350 using the sheets and other recycled materials. (Collections bins are located near the InfoDesk on the 2nd floor of the BCC.)

Why 350? Leading scientists believe that the atmosphere should contain no more than 350 parts per million of carbon in order for the planet and humans to coexist safely, Currently, the amount of carbon in the air is 387 parts per million and it is rising, producing harmful effects on climates.

In the coming weeks, Fairfield students plan to drape dorm windows with '350' signs and use washable chalk to mark campus sidewalks with the number in what promises to be a major campaign to bring attention about global warming, according to Fairfield University Student Environmental Association (SEA) President Dana August. The project is co-sponsored by SEA and the Green Campus Initiative.

Fairfield alumnus Laura Marciano, a Creative Writing major with a Peace and Justice Studies minor who graduated in 2008, approached the University about building a rooftop art installation, noting pro-environment objectives speak to the Jesuit mission of the University. Fairfield's sustainability projects have been considerable, with a very active group of campus environmentalists - including students, faculty, staff and administration - shepherding them along.

Marciano, now doing graduate work in art at Brooklyn College, said, "The completed installations will be photographed at schools taking part and sent to media with the intention that the images send a message of global solidarity about putting a stop to global warming. This is an especially important time to send such a message to United Nations leaders."

In December, UN leaders will meet in Copenhagen with the intention of producing an international agreement to combat climate change. Reforms to be discussed at the Denmark summit include the potential funding of alternative energy initiatives and a more cohesive carbon reduction policy.

Fairfield's art installation will be photographed on Wednesday, October 21, and left in place until October 24 - the international day of action for climate change. "Students at Bates College, Columbia, and Brown are involved, and more and more schools join up each day," said Marciano, who first got involved in the project through Providence, R.I. hometown friends Ryan Dean and Anthony Belcher. "Also involved are the cities of Providence, Brooklyn, Berlin, Germany, Istanbul, Turkey, Osaka, Japan, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Vinenza, Italy."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 6, 2009

Vol. 42, No. 78