UBC Undergraduate Research

Triple bottom line assessment of sustainability art contest Kwuen, Joseph; Furuya, Noriko; Okhiria, Sega; Abuassonon, Osama


The new Student Union Building (SUB) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is seeking to decorate its atrium with sustainable art pieces. The piece is intended to raise sustainability awareness among UBC students. Original plan to obtain such art piece was by commissioning a professional artist. This paper challenges this plan. In this paper a triple bottom-line analysis is conducted on the process of obtaining these art pieces by administering a student art contest. In the social aspect of the analysis it is clear that the art contest possesses many benefits over the traditional means; creation of jobs, engagement of students, as well as having the side benefit of promoting the art department at UBC. The waste disposal hierchy which includes: reduce, reuse and recycle are assessed for the commonly thrown away sustainable garbage chosen from the survey and observations of garbage bins in UBC campus. From this analysis, any recyclable material should be promoted to be recycled and reduce wastes which are difficult to recycle, such as plastics and electronic wastes. The last aspect of the analysis is Economic. In this section we gather cost estimates of commissioning a professional artist to create the artwork and compare this to estimates of the costs of the art contest. In the case of the art contest we are able to recover most (if not all) of the money spent. From the triple bottom-line analysis of administering a student art contest as a means to obtaining sustainable art pieces for the atrium of the SUB we see that this method not only costs less, but it also does more to raise awareness as it allows students to participate and be active in the process as opposed to being passive. Therefore we recommend going the route of a student art contest in place of commissioning a professional artist. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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