Efforts For Our Future

Efforts For Our Future

Student Artist: Summer Blahnik
Course: Data Visualization with Lucy HG Solomon
Sustainability Focus: CSUSM progress towards sustainability
Data Source: CSUSM 2014 Sustainability Plan
Media: watercolor on paper, wood, mp3 audio

youtube link to sonification of data set on CSUSM sustainability

Efforts For Our Future highlights the numerous efforts that the California State University San Marcos community has made towards a sustainable future. The graph showcases the data, with the musical score accentuating the ups and downs in the process. Although the university previously created a large amount of waste, these numbers have significantly decreased and will continue to improve with time.

My data focus is the campus’ efforts over time to change the collective carbon footprint of CSUSM.

Once I focused on this data, I became interested in it rather quickly. I utilized our campus website to research CSUSM’s sustainability efforts, and there I found a plethora of data related to my topic. I stumbled upon a huge packet/plan that outlines the university’s future plans for sustainability on campus. It highlights CSUSM’s past statistics as well as the current progress and future goals. I was surprised to find out that the university has reduced the overall amount of trash by 349% since 2004. I thought a graph would highlight this data really well, and I designed it to read from left to right – first showing how much garbage we created historically, followed by the planning period in the center, and ending with a spike in sustainability efforts. Although it doesn’t read like a traditional timeline, you can visually see the changes being made at CSUSM. This is also represented with colors that change through each progression.

I then created a musical score based upon my graph. The ‘song’ begins with an ominous set of sounds, followed by a cheerful, “pensive” sound for the planning period, and ending with more upbeat and positive sounds to represent the good changes that the university has made. (I’m definitely new to music production, so keep an open mind.) My intent is that viewers will enjoy the display and understand easily what I am trying to convey.