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EcoCar drives Earth Day celebration

Photo courtesy of Abbey Underwood

It is easy to talk about going green, but this Earth Day, the Ohio State EcoCar team and 83 Gallery are giving people a chance to experience a sustainable lifestyle at a hands-on event.

Today from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., 83 Gallery in the Short North will host the Ohio State EcoCar team, its car, and an array of environmentally conscious produced artwork to celebrate Earth Day. A reception will be held at the gallery featuring live music, hors d’oeurves and champagne.

83 Gallery is an independent art gallery located at 1038 N. High St. Their mission according to their website, 83gallery.com is “to create innovative connections between talented artists and potential patrons, while enriching and influencing our community in the process.”

The gallery is hosting the Earth Day reception to showcase environmentally conscious artwork and highlight the OSU EcoCar team’s commitment to creating and maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment.

The EcoCar team at Ohio State is involved in an advanced three-year collegiate vehicle technology engineering competition established by the United States Department of Energy and General Motors, Abbey Underwood, outreach coordinator and fourth-year marketing major, said.

“The competition challenges 16 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles by minimizing the vehicle’s fuel consumption and reducing its emissions while retaining the vehicle’s performance, safety and consumer appeal,” Underwood said.

“Students use a real-world engineering process to design and integrate their advanced technology solutions into a GM-donated vehicle.”

Admission to the event is free, but door contributions and proceeds of artwork sales go to a local charity. Commission will be used to purchase new tires for The Waste Not Center’s cargo van.

The Waste Not Center is a local charity established more than 20 years ago. WNC recycles excess supplies donated by individuals and businesses to teachers, artists and non-profit organizations at the cost of a membership fee.

According to Neil Drobny, general manager of WNC, memberships can cost anywhere from $45 for students, $75 for individuals to $295 a year for an entire school.

“We are reaching a whole new audience through a different type of communication,” Underwood said. “We are not just going out there and speaking with consumers about the environmental impacts that vehicles have on the environment. We are allowing the consumer to get involved and through art depict what sustainability and the environment means to them, something we have never done before.

“Students from the Ohio State EcoCar team reached out to the WNC,” Drobny said. “We had never heard of the 83 Gallery or the team before this. They offered to donate proceeds to us and our van, which is good because we don’t receive enough help from organizations such as these.”

The EcoCar team will end its third year of competition in June where its car will be tested at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds.

WNC has roughly 2,200 members and estimates it receives and put out more than 2,500 pounds of materials a week.

The car will make an appearance at the event today and be on exhibit at 83 Gallery through May 1.

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