Austin/ Arts & Culture
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Published on April 23, 2024
Austin Student Wins Eco Bag Design Contest with Texas Wildlife Art Supporting SustainabilitySource: Unsplash/Mediamodifier

Gillian Renner, a student at Austin Community College District (ACC), has bagged the top prize in the 12th Annual Eco Bag Design Contest, a competition promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness within the college community. This year's theme, "Planet v. Plastic," has Renner's creative flair splashed across a tote bag now available for all to snatch up online—decorated with the haunting visages of Texas' endangered species.

It's no small feat to encapsulate a message so vast on a canvas so limited, yet Renner managed to do just that with a plethora of creatures that find themselves teetering on the brink due to habitat loss and, yes, plastics. "I was inspired to showcase native Texas species on the threatened and endangered lists provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. There were so much more than I had expected, I resolved to fit as many as I could," Renner said, according to ACC's newsroom. True to the eco-warrior's art, the now-edited bag design teems with these at-risk animals—a captivating call to action for the sake of our planet's beleaguered co-inhabitants.

The contest, which ACC's Office of Energy & Sustainability sponsors, attracted north of 1,000 votes from the Riverbats community, reflecting the students' engagement with the environmental cause. Keeping in line with the competition, the bags flaunt a pragmatic charm that's artistic as much as it is a rallying cry for the betterment of our environmental practices.

Following close behind Renner, Donna Toutin clinched the runner-up spot with a design that also resonated with the contest's overarching theme. While Renner takes the lead, procuring oneself these bags isn't just a purchase—it's a vote for sustainability. As Gillian puts it, "Finding ways to make our lives more sustainable is so important because not only does it help us out in the long run, but it also helps ensure that our unique native plants and animals live and thrive," as per ACC District. Each bag purchased serves as an endorsement of this critical message.

For those looking to flaunt their environmental mettle—and perhaps a touch of Texas pride—the winning designs are a mere click away. Eco-conscious shoppers and supporters of local student art can order their very own piece of the contest here.