Osocio NL

The Point of No Return

Posted by Noah Scalin | 7-12-2010 14:10 | Category: Activism, Environment


Every year, students in my Design Rebels class at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia are required to make a final project that utilizes their skills & knowledge to reach beyond the school into the community at large about an issue of their choice (based on the topics covered in the class). They have just 7 weeks and $100 to realize their project. This year the class had 4 students and they chose as a group to focus on educating the public about the amount of waste produced by the average American and what resources are currently available to keep as much of it as possible out of landfills. To that end, they decided to make an installation in the form of a giant pyramid of trash made entirely from repurposed materials, which would give people a dramatic sense of the quantity of waste that one person creates in a year. The result was called The Point of No Return...

[click “read more” for additional info & images]




To reach as many people as possible the students decided display their pyramid at a hugely popular local monthly art event, where they would have a guaranteed audience of hundreds if not thousands of people passing by. To promote the installation, they created a series of teaser posters and short web video which gave basic facts about waste and the date. They then followed up with a poster printed on repurposed paper, giving further details about the event. In addition they reached out to local media to promote the event and had public service announcements running on a local independent radio station. Finally on the evening of the event they set up their pyramid on the sidewalk flanked by large banners giving further details.


Viewers were handed a pocket sized brochure (PDF), designed by the students, which gives area recycling resources along with a key to the color coded sections of the pyramid. The students spent 4 hours speaking with dozens of passers by and quickly handed out all of their materials.

More details and downloadable posters can be found on the project’s website HERE.

The Point of No Return

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