Miss A Columnist

Crystal Zhao is larger-than-life. She has lived in three countries and three states, but easily considers herself a Texan at heart. A former Austin contributor, Crystal graduated from the University of Texas at Austin (hook ‘em!) with degrees in Government and Communication Studies and a minor in Rhetoric & Writing. She is learning to be a Washingtonian with her fellow Texans in D.C. and as a new addition to the Junior League of Washington. Crystal currently works on Capitol Hill.

In addition to pursuing a life of public policy, Crystal also makes sure to set aside time to do what she loves - exploring and sharing. She’s always after something new in the blogosphere, local food and drink, and fitness activities. Believing that each moment in life has a unique lesson to teach, Crystal loves pursuing new experiences and getting to know people from all walks of life. She loves writing so that she can share knowledge with and encourage others to pursue more opportunities to learn as well. Her favorite way of life is, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.”

Recap: CANstruction Austin 2012

“To engage, amaze and inspire the community to work together raising canned food to feed thousands of hungry people.” Every fall, with lots of fun and a little bit of friendly competition, CANstruction Austin turns charity into a huge success.

CANstruction Austin

“SSSStriking Out Hunger”
(Photo Credit: Crystal Zhao)

Local architects, engineers and builders teamed up  to build amazing sculptures entirely made out of canned food donations from the community. The teams assembled on Saturday, November 10 and their finished products were showcased until November 17 at Barton Creek Square Mall. After these sculptures competed to be best-in-show and put on display, all of the canned food items were then donated to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.

The Juror’s Favorite and Structural Ingenuity awards went to “SSSStriking Out Hunger” by Schneider HALLS Design and Rogers-O’Brien Construction. This serpent structure was made out of 7,185 cans and its “upright pose reminds us that when hunger bites our community, we can bite back.”

CANstruction Austin

“Mario All-Stars: Hunger Busters”
(Photo Credit: Crystal Zhao)

For the Best Use of Labels and Best Meal, “Mario All-Stars: Hunger Busters” took the cake. It was created by KGA ArchitectureTrimbuilt Construction and Structures PE and made with 2,257 cans. This structure is “packed with healthy proteins like corned beef hash and turkey chili” so that Mario will be “strong enough to help hungry families throughout Central Texas.” He will also have “plenty of running, jumping, and kicking power from the energy packed beans and will stay healthy with all the veggie vitamins.” And to top it all off, there is a “Princess Peaches” dessert included as well.

“Coffee CAN!” by Sixthriver Architects and Leap!Structures won the People’s Choice award and was also considered as an Honorable Mention by the judges. This Keurig coffee machine was made out of 3,630 cans and “is symbolic of time we spend getting together for a common cause, for community and good will” as “coffee is the great motivator of the American workplace.”

CANstruction Austin

“Coffee CAN!”
(Photo Credit: Crystal Zhao)

Another Honorable Mention award went to “CANnibal” by CTA Architects Engineers and JE Dunn made with 3,040 cans. Don’t let the name alarm you because this is a friendly Cannibal as it was designed to “emphasize the importance of nutrient rich and healthy foods flowing in and out of the food bank.”

CANstruction Austin uses One Can® to emphasize that it only takes one can to be a catalyst for change – “One Can® to represent the building blocks of massive sculptures. One Can® to prove that every act of kindness makes a difference.” They have done a fantastic job of demonstrating that because over 17.5 million pounds of food have been donated to local food banks since 1992 in order to fight hunger. CANstruction has made this a fun event that attracts crowds of people and heightens awareness for the need to contribute to those who need a little bit of help fighting hunger.

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