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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Aggie Racks ReCYCLE project offers opportunity for designers and adds character

Freshly decorated news racks echo traditions of Davis with eco-friendly art

When an employee of The California Aggie enthusiastically offers you a copy of the latest paper, take it. You might not realize it, but an incredible amount of effort went into getting that issue in print, and some of the soon-graduating members of the newspaper’s staff are just old enough to remember a time with no newspapers, no newsracks and no reason to hand out copies from a Memorial Union table every Thursday.

With bright blue newsracks sprinkled all over the central campus in even the most peculiar places, the history of The California Aggie’s battle to get physical copies of their paper to distribute seems distant. From 2014 to 2016, however, the campus was barren of physical papers, following in the unfortunate footsteps of many publications leaving print in the twenty-first century.

The newspaper was taken out of print for two years, returning two years ago with a mission to bring news to the community. Now, The California Aggie looks to bring eco-friendly art representative of Davis’ character to these many blue racks with the help of student designers and artists.

Hired by the university in Jan. 2017, new business manager Laurie Pederson was  challenged to rebuild the advertising department by marketing the newspaper, online media and products to a student community who never fully knew The Aggie or learned the importance of traditional newspapers. She started with The Aggie’s public presence: its distribution stands.

Due to the newspaper being out of print for two years, the 36 racks were in no condition to be used once the newspaper returned. Therefore, the Aggie Racks Restoration project was born through the efforts of not only Pederson but student managers and designers from three different teams: The California Aggie, Unitrans and The Bike Barn. Unitrans retrieved all the racks and primed, sanded and painted them to be ready for their rejuvenation.

The second phase of this project began in Jan. 2018, thanks to a $2,000 Green Initiative Fund granted from ASUCD TGIF fund. This went entirely to student designers who would use recycled parts of bicycles to decorate the racks in a way that reflected the campus. The Bike Barn provided materials for the creators: wheels, gears and even bike frames. The new racks, as much as they are for The California Aggie, are largely for the campus, and this is precisely why the mission for designers involved the town’s primary mode of transportation.  

The fund was to cover the creation of 15 units of distributions (newsracks). The primary goal was to mirror the spirit of the campus all while demonstrating the sustainable use of recycled bike parts in a creative new way. Parts were donated by The Bike Barn and TAPs, the call for artists was sent and the Aggie office became the dedicated storage space for spare parts. Student designers not only got to leave a permanent mark on the campus, but they got to work with design mentor, Jord Nelson, who offered his space, time and tools to students so that they could create freely.

Not only does this opportunity allow designers to leave their own legacy on campus, but it also saves bike parts from being added to a mountain at the local dump by giving them new life.

The UC Davis campus is defined a lot by its eccentric art, with the Eggheads by Robert Arneson being the subject of senior pictures and first-visit-celebration photoshoots alike. The Aggie Racks ReCYCLE project offers students a chance to contribute to this spirit of the campus through their own artistic vision. With four units completed and now residing on campus, The Aggie is still looking for designers to tackle the 11 remaining racks with their own artistic vision. Students interested in designing their very own rack can contact Laurie Pederson at lmpederson@ucdavis.edu or by calling (530) 752-9877.

Written by: Olivia Luchini — features@theaggie.org


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