Fort Box: Box By Box

Friday, February 21st, UT Recycling and the Office of Sustainability partnered with ‘Up to UTK’ to raise… Fort Box!

“Fort Box was built to act as a visual representation of our increasing national debt, and the correlation it has with our increasing environmental impacts,” said Office of Sustainability’s Elizabeth Boehmer. “To build a sustainable future, we cannot address these problems separately. A healthy environment is the key to a healthy economy and a thriving population.”

A healthy environment is the key to a healthy economy and a thriving population

Peter G. Peterson, whose non-profit organization is a co-sponsor of Up to Us, describes the campaign as an initiative that “gives motivated students the chance to make a difference and raise awareness of an issue that is critical to their futures. A growing movement of millennial voices is a key part of solving one of the most significant challenges facing our nation.”

Oh, and did we mention… Fort Box broke a world record! Smashing the previous record of 4,123 boxes held by University of Texas-Austin, Fort Box was built using 4,822 boxes, weighing out at 5,920 pounds. UT Recycling collects that weight – in cardboard alone – on campus in just two days.

Showcasing this in Fort Box, allowed anyone, whether devotedly building or simply walking by, to put into perspective how much we consume as a university and how much waste is produced as a result. Students were encouraged to think broadly about the impacts of waste by evaluating their personal consumer habits as well as how unsustainable consumption patterns affect more than just the environment.

“We are a country of consumers, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. What we can do is shop smarter by choosing quality over convenience. When we buy things that are made with longevity and durability in mind, we do not need to replace our things as often. This reduces energy usage, our demand for resources, and in the long run, saves us money. If more people and institutions invested in higher quality items, our economy as a whole would benefit,” Bea Ross of UT Recycling said. “It all starts with us.”