Planning Ahead

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Description: Junior geology and geography major Rachel Valletta, along with two other students, is creating a display designed to replicate the melting permafrost and its devastating effects on both people and the planet. "We did this whole term project on permafrost," says Valletta. "It's kind of a bland subject and at the end of the day it's just studying ground. Through this display we want to highlight to the public that issues that are boring to even us hold huge importance."Perhaps the most dramatic example of his work concerns the costume for Papageno, the Birdman in the opera. "That's my favorite piece," [Timothy Westbrook] exclaims. "His costume is made of seven yards of organic cotton and cassette tape. He draws in birds with his flute and I thought it would be appropriate to use the tape to represent the music; it's a subtle designer thing."It may be called SU Showcase, but next-door neighbor SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry participates as well; in fact, the rain garden was an ESF initiative. "ESF is a real asset in this way," May notes, "and as a demonstration facility you can go and see all the things they've got going on there. I think a number of SU students that are active in environmental issues have actually gotten involved in the ESF student organization. Right now SU doesn't have an environmental organization of students, but there are a lot of students who are interested in this topic. What I'm hoping is that that organization will come together out of a bunch of these students."
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