Campus as a Laboratory

Red Cup Project Targets Party Culture and Waste
By Christine Edgeworth, Geography ‘15

In Fall 2014 four Syracuse University architecture students—Vinh Vo, Leslie Baz, Hamza Hasan, and Kate Chesebrough—created a public art installation for a course on ‘The Politics of Public Space.”  They used red solo cups to draw attention to the issues of waste and recycling.

RCP Image 3aCalling their group The Red Cup Project, they collected 1000 cups on two Sunday mornings on Euclid Ave. and then created a sculpture in the form of two mounds of cups with a flat layer between them that people can walk through. “Essentially you’re walking through the art but you’re also walking on top of your own trash,” said Vo.

The Red Cup Project also partnered with a host of other campus and community organizations to hold a Trash Flash Mob in Syracuse’s Hanover Square. For four hours, participants picked up trash and built a waterfall of red solo cups and trash.


RCP Image1aThe 5,000 cups collected at the Trash Flash Mob were donated to ACR Health, a non-profit community health organization in New York, to be turned into Adirondack Chairs by TerraCycle, with proceeds going back to ACR Health. The process of turning waste materials into new products is known as “upcycling.”

It was a new concept for Vo, who says he is “blown away” by the link between upcycling and giving back to the community. The team hopes that others will be inspired by their project and that in turn they’ll take it upon themselves to do something for their communities as well.  Follow them on Twitter at @redcupproject.