Spotlight department of the month: School of Theatre and Film

When you think about it, the theater department in any university is potentially one of the biggest producers of waste on campus.

Every production needs new sets, costumes, and a lot of lights. That means a great deal of paint, wood, fabric, steel and other construction materials, not to mention the paper for programs and scripts. There’s not a big market for used sets, or costumes an actor has worn under the hot lights.

However, changes can be made, to “green” the stage and ASU is in the forefront of taking action to do so. Some changes can be done immediately, but some take more time. For example, the investment for new lighting takes a long time to recoup, but paint can be recycled and re-used immediately.

When Linda Essig joined the ASU faculty as director of the School of Theatre and Film in 2004, she looked into buying more sustainable lighting, which is expensive, so the department is now seeking $140,000 to replace the current lighting with more energy-efficient fixtures.

The Theatre Department faculty and staff have inaugurated a “Go Green” campaign. Steps are under way to recycle steel, re-use old paint, minimize the use of volatile organic compounds, exchange materials with other organizations, recycle costumes and complete many other initiatives.

“It’s a beginning,” Essig said. “We’re in the process now of working through what we can do to move our efforts to the next level, but I’ve given the staff until January to come up with their plans.”

Stay tuned for the next act.

Judith Smith
ASU Media Relations