While an average café displays an array of pastel-and-seashore artwork on its walls, the Barker Center Rotunda instead boasts a smattering of witty and eco-friendly cartoons.

These are not your Sunday funnies, but cartoons with a purpose—to spread the word about environmental issues across campus. These CERtoons (Campus Emission Reduction toons) are last year’s winners of an annual competition hosted by the Harvard University Office for Sustainability. 

This year’s CERtoon competition is accepting cartoons on any eco-related theme through Wednesday, Feb. 16. Student representatives and staff of the Office for Sustainability will filter through applicants and choose the top fifteen winners. Students themselves will make the final cut, choosing their favorite three in early March during CERtoon study breaks in Annenberg and in upperclassman Houses.

Undergraduate Resource Efficiency Program Coordinator Brandon P. Geller '08 has been overseeing the CERtoon competition for the past two years and expressed excitement to see the effects of this year’s competition.

"Cartoons are quick and can convey a lot of information in just an instant," Geller said. "The message will stay with you for the rest of the day."

The 15 first round winners will receive $25 gift certificates, while the lucky top three collect prizes including $100 and $150 American Express gift cards and an Ipod Touch. All winners will also have their work displayed in various venues across Harvard ranging from the Greenhouse Café to the Mather House Big TV Room.

Secret cartoonist at heart? Prove it. Thinking green thoughts, but lack artistic skill? Grab a friend (or coerce a VES concentrator) and enter as a team!

So get your sketches going, and visit the website to fill out the submission form and send your CERtoon in.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons