Convert-A-Can turns garbage cans into colorful statements about littering
Story and photos by Emily Ayers Staff Writer
National parks are where people can escape city life to enjoy the quiet of nature and support the preservation of natural lands.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, the President and Congress have designated over one hundred national monuments.
On Oct. 10 of last year, President Obama added the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County to that list.
Since then, California State University, Long Beach students have created project Convert-A-Can, a program that serves as an artistic way to deter graffiti and reduce littering in the San Gabriel Mountains by painting murals on the trash bins.
Convert-A-Can creator Kevin Lynch, a senior environmental science major at CSULB, wanted to find inventive solutions to prevent the defacing of trash bins by making the lids more attractive.
Further developing the idea and taking over as project director was senior environmental science major Megan Devine.
As a solution to Lynch’s problem, she proposed covering the entire trash bin with a mural as part of the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Leadership Academy project.
“I didn’t think a year ago I would be involved with something like this,” Devine said. “This has been such a learning experience for me.”
Since the project has launched, the park has seen a decrease in the amount of littering and graffiti that takes place.
“Once the cans were improved and made beautiful, only one out of 15 converted cans was tagged,” said Lynch. “Normally, each can would have been tagged three to four times throughout the year.”
Due to its impact, the Forest Service has asked the Convert-A-Can project to present at an event on October 16.
The group will have brochures to inform people on the project’s purpose and will be painting two trash cans that day as well. The Forest Service has even ordered new trash cans to be painted and placed around the park.
“During our first installment, we had a lady come up to us with a pile of trash that she had picked up out of the riverbed of the San Gabriel River,” Lynch said. “It made me proud to know that I had made a difference.”
The neutral colors originally chosen for the bins were meant to blend in with nature, but adding vibrant colors really drew attention to the overall cause, said Devine.
Volunteers and artists are encouraged to draw inspiration from nature while creating the artwork. Inspirational quotes are used to reinforce messages to keep the environment clean.
The bins also serve as platforms for artists to showcase their work.
Convert-A-Can has also become a creative tool for students to utilize in sparking awareness by transforming dull trash cans into fine works of art.
The project has since received both local and national attention.
Active in seeking public policy, the project wants to implement environmentally friendly legislature. Lynch traveled to Washington D.C. to present the idea of expanding beyond the San Gabriel Mountains to senators.
Devine discussed potentially expanding the project to CSULB.
On Oct. 26, there will be another Convert-A-Can event to celebrate President Obama’s recognition of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national park.
Impossible n’est pas français
The French Club proves that nothing is impossible
Story by Ricardo Alejandro PulidoContributor
The French Club at CSULB is a club that wants to promote and share the French language and culture with students and those who find the language intriguing and fun.
We want to inspire students to learn and master the French language through fun and interesting ways. Each semester brings new events that allow us to do this as well as connect with our members.
Every semester, we have movie nights focusing on a theme or genre in French film, and invite students to join us for pizza and a fun movie for the evening.
We also have “Le Café Français,” an event based on a real restaurant in France. For this event, we meet on campus in front of the Coffee Bean in the University Student Union and talk in French to simulate what the French actually do in France.
During meetings, we have presentations on entertaining topics such as “How to flirt in French” or “Famous French musicians, artists and writers.”
Once a year in March we have our biggest event,“La Journée de la Francophonie.” It is a grand celebration in the French Department where we enjoy all aspects of French life.
We show films, play music, hold raffles and games, enjoy French cuisine and celebrate the language and culture.
We also feature club alumni and their experiences after graduating.
Our club wants to give students a fun experience on campus where friends can be made and interests can blossom.
Meetings are held every other Tuesday in front of the University Coffee Bean from 1 pm to 2:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.