“Greening” the Arts at LaGuardia

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Students Diana Escobar, Peter Rosario, and Ramon Rootharam hard at work with Sustainability Council Director Anthony Lugo, EHS Coordinator Joseph Dror, and EHS College Assistant Weily Lang.


It was late February, and I was performing a routine inspection as Environmental, Health, & Safety College Assistant. As I came across two large stacks of gallon-sized paint cans (some well-used, some unopened, all several years old), I suddenly remembered a local city agency with a large warehouse solely for housing gallon-sized paint donations.

Materials for the Arts (MFTA) is a NYC agency located nearby in Long Island City. Their mission is to collect unwanted items and make them available for free to arts programs within NYC’s non-profit arts and cultural organizations. Even NYC public schools qualify as recipients, and LaGuardia’s performing and visual arts departments have been no exception. When MFTA has been so generously giving to our community, there isn’t anyone better for our campus to give back to than to them.

For over a month, I have been working with various LaGuardia departments to facilitate LaGuardia’s very first donation to MFTA. As an initiative to further LaGuardia’s commitment to sustainability, the project also attracted an unprecedented student-staff effort via the Sustainability Council. Three students volunteered their time one morning to help select useable paints for the donation.

On April 5, we successfully completed our first donation of items from multiple LaGuardia departments worth over $1,200 in total, including 106 paint cans. I would especially like to thank the Sustainability Council, Buildings Operations, Administrative & Support Services, and the Main Stage Theater for their constant support and feedback. It is my hope that LaGuardia will continue this affiliation with MFTA in sustaining the arts in NYC.

Weily Lang is an Environmental Health and Safety College Assistant at LaGuardia.
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Diana Escobar isn’t only getting an education at LaGuardia, she comes on-campus everyday with one other thing in mind – how to make the College a greener place.

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