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Public Affairs : Cadet earn recycling award

“Atlas” carries this year’s cadet recycling sculpture competition

By Maj. Andrew Pfluger
Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering

At times the Mess Hall can be littered with recyclable bottles, cans, cardboard and plastic containers, but only once a year are they considered works of art, which was the case during the annual Brigade Recycling Sculpture Competition held Dec. 6.

The 36 cadet companies submitted 17 entries into this year’s competition. Of the four cadet regiments, First Regiment submitted the most with eight entries. Class of 2013 Cadet Adam Leemans, the brigade energy and environment officer, submitted a sculpture featuring the headquarters and headquarters troop mascot—the Husky—in a cardboard doghouse.

However, the top entrant this year came from Company C-1 (Crusaders), who created a five-foot tall rendition of Atlas, the Greek mythological figure who carries the world on his shoulders.

In this competition, Atlas consisted of a cardboard torso and feet, plastic legs and aluminum arms that carried a cardboard world on his shoulders.

Class of 2016 Cadet Justin Fenn chose to create a recyclable Atlas because it is a respectable piece of art that symbolizes how “mankind is responsible for maintaining or holding up the earth and its resources.”

Fenn said the recyclable Atlas took four days to create.

Class of 2014 Cadet Bonny Bradway, the brigade energy and environment non-commissioned officer, said the Atlas was her favorite “because of its size and complexity.”

Aside from Bradway, other recycling competition judges included Col. Russ Lachance (Chemistry and Life Science); Lt. Col. Mark Smith (Geography and Environmental Engineering); Stan Brown, who runs the West Point recycling center; April Phair, the director of marketing for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at West Point; and Leemans.

The winning entry was announced at the Army-Navy Spirit Dinner later that evening. The top prize this year was $300 given by FMWR, which can be used at any of its facilities on-post.

Earning the second prize, and $125 from FMWR, was the “Greek Christmas Tree” created by Co. G-1 (Greeks).

The green plastic bottle tree bore wire limbs made from coat hangers donned with aluminum can ornaments.

The entrant’s most prominent ornaments were cardboard signs stating “Go Army” and “Beat Navy” written with intricately carved letters from aluminum cans.

Third prize, which was a $75 prize from FMWR, was a “War Diagram” by Co. A-4 that included recyclable airplanes, tanks and left over operations maps from a military science class.

The purpose of the competition is to increase recycling awareness in the Corps of Cadets and to make sure recycling is on the Corps’ mind as the semester comes to a close.

“There are so many recyclables in the barracks,” Leemans said. “We want to do our best to improve systems and send as many as possible to the recycling center instead of a landfill.”
The top prize for the 2012 Brigade Recycling Sculpture Competition went to Class of 2016 Cadet Justin Fenn of Co. C-1 (Crusaders), who created a five-foot tall Atlas. A total of 36 cadet companies submitted 17 entries into this year’s competition. Courtesy Photos

The “War Diagram,” created by Co. A-4, won third prize and included recyclable airplanes, tanks and left over operations maps from a military science class.

Each entrant in the competition must be created with only recyclable materials. Upon completion of the competition, each piece was broken down and sent to Brown’s recycling center located on Route 293.

In February, Leemans and Class of 2013 Cadet Christine Esachina (Co. C-3) will continue the recycling buzz when West Point enters the annual RecycleMania tournament (

The annual competition features more than 600 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. During the last two competitions, West Point has done very well, finishing in the top 10 percent of most recycling categories.

Esachina, Leemans and the recycling team are looking to expand the competition from the Corps to the greater West Point community this year.

“We would like to make this a community effort,” Leemans said. “Everyone on post should be involved.”