For my circulation project, I had the completely original idea of hanging fliers; they’re easy to make, easy to hang, and easy to read. But I hadn’t a clue as to the message I wished to convey. “Don’t pollute the air” is easier said than done. Some problems can be actively fixed, air pollution is not one of them. Anyone can paint over graffiti, or pick up litter or what have you, but no one can pull the (often invisible) pollution from the air. It only makes sense that an ethereal problem lacks a concrete solution.
It wasn’t until my interview for the audio essay that I was struck with inspiration. I interviewed an executive board member for GASP, the Group Against Smog and Pollution, and during our conversation he said that doing the small things right was the best way to combat poor air quality as our wonderfully resilient atmosphere slowly takes care of the problem.
With that in mind I knew I wanted to encourage my audience to do one small thing well. It may only be a drop in the bucket, but a lot of drops add up. All things considered, I decided to embolden my audience to ride the bus instead of driving a personal vehicle. My fliers all play off a common theme: riding the bus might be inconvenient, but driving can be inconvenient, as well. My fliers say in bold all caps lettering something like, “traffic can ruin a good day. Take the bus instead.”
Because students at Pitt and surrounding universities have free access to Port Authority Transit, I decided I would focus my efforts on the city’s student population. Most of my efforts would stay here, but I wanted to spread some fliers to CMU and Duquesne as well, so I did.
Duquesne was the most hostile to my attempts. I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere without a Duquesne student ID, which is a problem because I do not have a Duquesne student ID. Despite being not allowed in, or kicked out of some buildings, I was allowed into the main library. When I left Gumberg library late last week, almost every table on one floor devoted to quiet study had one of my fliers. Unfortunately, I did not take pictures because there were students studying, and I don’t think they wanted to be in any photos.
This circulation project has been the most unique project in my time at Pitt, and one of the most thought provoking. For years, I have walked past all kinds of fliers and bulletins without as much as a second thought. This makes me wonder how many others like me can’t be bothered to take a moment and read a paper hanging on a wall, but more importantly how many others do take the time to read fliers like mine? Of that group, how many are so easily influenced that they’ll ride the bus next time they go out? I don’t know the answer, but if the number is more than zero, eventually all these drops in the bucket will add up to something significant.