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April 8, 2013

Canny concepts key for creative challenge

Six student teams mixed generosity and creativity to turn hundreds of food cans into recognizable constructions on display at Southside Mall in Oneonta. 

A robot and electronic gear were among items created Saturday during the local Canstruction Competition this past weekend.

Chuck D’Imperio, radio personality and columnist for The Daily Star, said the competition results showed an impressive historic range, from a creation representing the Roman Colosseum through circular groups of cans to a flat, rectangular structure portraying an Apple iPad.

“They’re amazing,’’ D’Imperio said. 

Canstruction, and its efforts to fight hunger, was founded in 1992 and has expanded into more than 200 cities worldwide, the organization’s website said. 

Locallly, the project started three years ago and is sponsored by the Center for Social Responsibility and Community at the State University College at Oneonta. 

The teams used the shapes and sizes of the cans, plus the shades and patterns of the labels, to build structures ranging from familiar to historic items. More than 4,000 cans of food were collected to create the six structures, which will be on display until Sunday, organizers said. On Monday, the canned goods will be donated to food pantries in Otsego County, organizers said. 

On Sunday, several participants, organizers and observers applauded the effort to collect canned foods, create recognizable structures and support a project that involved students and the community.

D’Imperio joined Jim Kevlin, editor and publisher of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta, and Sam Pollak, editor of The Daily Star, as judges of the Canstruction Competition. The awards by title were:

• Jurors Favorite to “Canisieum’’ by Otsego Northern Catskills Board of Cooperative Educational Services students from Grand Gorge. 

• Best Meal to students in the SUNY Oneonta Athletic Department, who built a water bottle.

• Best Use of Labels for “The Gift,’’ a box-like structure built by students from Hays and Ford residential halls at SUNY Oneonta.

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