Texas Tech hosted a recycled art contest from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m on Thursday, March 28, called Recycle Mania in the Student Union Ballroom. 

Students, faculty, staff, organizations and Tech departments were all eligible to enter their works in this contest. All entries had to have 75 percent recycled materials. 

Lynne Thurston, who works in housing services building, said this contest is put on by Housing. 

“The reason we do it is because we run the Recycle Center," Thurston said. "It started maybe 10 years ago when they noticed at move-in that there was so much material coming in.” 

They started the Recycle Mania program to pick-up more of those materials and over the years it has expanded, she said. Housing now collects all recycled material possible. 

Judging for the recycled contest was done by any visitors who came to the exhibit. A ballot was filled out and awards were given out to the first, second and third place winners.

Leisha Womble placed third with her work, She’s Been Swept Away. Barbra Gonzales placed second with her artwork, Sunflower. Zachary Ochoa placed first with his Plastic Sea Turtle. 

Ochoa, a senior studio art major from Lubbock, said the project was made last year for a class and this was just a good opportunity to enter something already made based on recycling. 

“It’s made out of all recycled plastic bottles and the sea turtle was inspired by how polluted our oceans are and how it’s affecting the natural wildlife," Ochoa said.

It’s a visual representation of how much plastic only two people had in their house just over a few months, he said. There are many stories of washed up whales or sea turtles found dead that have ingested plastic so it seemed fitting, he said. 


“It took a while because I used a heat gun and melted it all together so it was a very time-consuming project," Ochoa said." It was also difficult because as a painter I had to think in a different way, more three-dimensional, but I enjoyed it."

Another art contestant, Emily Massey, a senior marketing major from the Dallas, Fort Worth area, said her painting was inspired by a class assignment from a previous year, when a professor had the students think of a different way to produce artwork. 

After thinking it would be really cool if someone had water for hair, it quickly became a very aesthetic design, she said. 

“I wasn’t very good at using watercolor or depicting real life situations so I took a very illustrative turn with it and it happened to turn out great," Massey said. 

There were a few days of work that went into creating the piece, she said, but it was a great experience and worth trying. 

Art competitions are not a usual thing for marketing majors, but as artists, it’s nice showing works out for everyone to see, she said. 

The competition is a way to help raise awareness for recycling, Thurston said. 

“The contest is to try and get people to think outside the box in terms of what you can do with materials," Thurston said. "You start to see how much recyclable material you have when you begin to create something with it and that promotes awareness.”

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