U Students raise awareness about secret watershedHonors students host event to celebrate importance of Red Butte Creek

PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Catron

Lagoon at Red Butte Garden

The University of Utah’s Art, Action and the Environment Honors course raises awareness about the Red Butte Creek, an important and largely unknown watershed that runs through campus. The student project consists of an exhibition, held April 18-25 on the first floor of the Art Building, displaying personal, open letters about the impact the U has on the creek, followed by a community-engaged project at Marriott Library Plaza on April 25 at 12:30 p.m.

“Awareness about the importance of watersheds in Utah is increasing, but this local watershed is relatively unknown,” said Taylor Colton, a communications student in the class. “We want students to understand their actions have an impact on this creek.”

Funded by the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, the goal of the letter exhibit is to show the students’ personal connection to the creek in order to foster a similar connection with their peers. Each student in the class has written 10 personal letters and all 130 letters will be hung in the Art Building in a major thoroughfare. In the days preceding the event, copies of the letters will be distributed to other students.

The letters will also invite students to participate in the public art event held on April 25 on the plaza of the Marriot Library, where there will be an interactive art piece about the Red Butte Creek encouraging students to explore their connection to it and to clean water more broadly.

The interactive piece, a 100-foot chalkboard in the shape of a river, will include questions to prompt students to think about how they impact the creek and how the creek has impacted them. 

Offered through the Honors College and taught by assistant professor of sculpture intermedia, Wendy Wischer, Art, Action and Environment allows students to explore the way art can be used to engage the public in environmental concerns. The students come from different disciplines across campus, including David Eccles School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Humanities and the College of Social and Behavioral Science.

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Media Contacts

Marina Gombergassociate director of communications and marketing, University College of Fine Arts
Office: 801-585-6237

Jana Cunninghamcommunications director, College of Humanities
Office: 801-213-0866