Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Tavey Capps
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Duke University
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Tavey Capps
Environmental Sustainability Director
Office of the Executive Vice President
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Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Duke Arts Festival: Sustainability Themed

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

In 2013, the Duke Arts Festival followed a sustainability theme, in order to encourage the Duke community to use the arts to learn about and educate others about our ecological footprint. The themed festival was a collaboration between Sustainable Duke, Duke Sanitation and Recycling Services, the Office of the Vice Provost of the Arts, and the Duke Arts Festival. This festival was kicked off with a day-long project to build Fort Duke, a structure made entirely of boxes collected during student move-in day. The structure enclosed the statue of James B. Duke in front of the Duke Chapel. It was made up of more than 3500 boxes, breaking the world record for the largest recycled cardboard building.

The 2013 Duke Arts Festival invited students to imagine how their paintings, prints, sculptures, videos, photos, media, music, dance, poetry, and theater might address sustainability during Duke Arts Festival. The festival was designed with this theme to meet a new and growing demand for a channel of expression on this topic; in recent years, faculty artists, visiting artists, and student artists have shown amazing imagination, ingenuity and a growing interest to make art that addresses sustainability.

Duke University seeks to attain and maintain a place of leadership in all that we do. This includes leadership in environmental stewardship and sustainability on our campus. As Duke strives to integrate sustainability into all aspects of the campus life, it is important to think creatively about how to inspire and encourage sustainable behaviors. Infusing sustainability themes into the arts is one way to reach diverse audiences, inspire creative thinking about the impact humans have on the natural world, and help all to understand our connection to the environment in new ways.

Several special festival events were planned to reinforce the theme: Photographer and filmmaker Chris Jordan visited Duke on October 30-31 to share his powerfully rendered artworks about consumption, “Running the Numbers” and “Midway”, with the Duke community, as well as participate in a panel discussion about mass consumption and how art can draw attention to critical issues of today. A local environmental artist worked with students on an installation in the Bryan Center that used discarded plastic bottles as source material. Pinar Yoldas, a graduate student in Visual and Media Studies, mounted her incredible “Very Loud Chamber Orchestra of Endangered Species” in Brown Gallery in the Bryan Center. Her work is “a roaring wake-up call” for all who inhabit planet earth.

The festival joined with Campus Sustainability Day on October 23, 2013 to celebrate Duke’s progress towards our 2024 carbon neutrality goal.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

3,500 boxes were reused in the construction of Fort Duke and hundreds of students, faculty and staff attended this and other sustainability-related events during the Duke Arts Festival.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum Yes
Research No
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement No
Air & Climate No
Buildings No
Dining Services No
Energy No
Grounds No
Purchasing Yes
Transportation No
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment No

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
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The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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