‘Green Pig’ is Catawba’s new symbol of commitment to environment

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A small green pig pin was handed out to all students, faculty and staff who attended Catawba College’s opening convocation Thursday and most wondered why.
But when College President Dr. Craig Turner officially introduced “Green Pig,” calling it “a new symbol of our commitment to the environment at Catawba College,” the wondering ceased.
A few lucky individuals at the convocation ó who were wearing their new Green Pig pins ó also learned exactly what a piggy payback in the form of a greenback meant when Turner handed them a $5 bill.
“You will be seeing signs around campus telling the Tale of the Green Pig and containing suggestions encouraging us to be good stewards of the environment,” he said before his convocation address. “They will remind us to turn out lights as we leave empty rooms, to turn off computers when not in use, not to run the water the entire time we brush our teeth, to recycle ó to do the things we all know we should do but sometimes need a reminder to practice.
“We are fortunate on campus to have a major recycling program already in effect, to be using some geothermal and solar resources, to have a magnificent Center for the Environment to promote ‘green’ and a number of other environmental initiatives. But more is needed. While we explore other larger efforts to make our campus environmentally balanced, the Green Pig is our new initiative to promote green consciousness among all of us in the Catawba family.”
During the next several weeks of the fall semester, Turner said “empowered” faculty and staff will be giving out cash rewards on campus to students wearing their Green Pig pins in an effort to promote “the practice of good green habits.”
“I encourage you to join the Order of the Green Pig,” he said. “Wear your pins on your shirts, your backpacks, your caps ó you never know when someone might ask if you are displaying the Green Pig! And more importantly, practice the habits of being a good environmental steward. Help Catawba to erase our carbon footprint and to be a green campus in every sense of that word.”
The birth of the Green Pig resulted from Turner asking the Catawba Public Relations Department to help develop a conservation campaign to be launched with the start of the fall semester. Members of the department ó Graphic Designer and Photographer Tracy Ratliff, Web Designer and Developer Maegen Worley, Public Relations Coordinator Gwen Vanderbloemen and Communications Officer Tonia Black-Gold ó helped create the concept.
“We started out thinking about how a piggybank symbolized savings and wondering what we could do to turn the pig green,” Black-Gold recalled.
Ratliff added, “We knew we wanted something simple ń a symbol you could see and instantly recognize what it stood for. And, we knew whatever we came up with had to be something fun for the students.”
Worley said, “Everyone’s heard the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ line so many times that it has lost much of its meaning, so we wanted something new, and like Tracy said, something the students would embrace. Really, we wanted something that could live a life all of its own and make the same old concepts fun again.”
Green Pig was born during an impromptu session in Black-Gold’s office, with much laughter and ideas tossed back and forth. “It was simple and something we could make memorable,” Black-Gold said.
Green Pig became a mantra in the public relations office for several weeks during the summer while Ratliff finalized the symbol’s design and the “Tale of the Green Pig” and the accompanying Pig Tales, tips on being green, were developed. Vanderbloemen went to work locating the best pricing on Green Pig pins.
By the time classes had begun on Aug. 20, the concept was finalized and approved, the pins had been ordered and received, and finally, Vanderbloemen instructed the public relations work study students to hang posters introducing the “Tale of the Green Pig” around campus.
“I’d hear students ask each other ‘What’s up with the pig?’ and I knew there was and would be interest in this,” said student Erin Blalock of Denver, N.C. who is a member of E.C.O. (Environment Campus Outreach), a student organization on campus.
A junior environmental education major, Blalock met with Black-Gold the week after classes had begun to see exactly how her organization could get involved with promoting Green Pig.
“Erin’s interest is indicative of exactly what we had hoped for when we conceived of Green Pig,” said Black-Gold. “We’ll be closely working with E.C.O., the college’s Office of Waste Recycling and Reduction, our Center for the Environment and the Office of Student Affairs to keep the momentum going.”