Business administration sophomore Brett Edwards visits the residence halls in costume as "Mr. Eco" to promote Cal Poly's Green Campus Program. While Mr. Eco is new to campus, Edwards has high hopes for the superhero. "I feel like once I have a larger body of work, I'll be able to get the name out there more and gain a fan base," he said. Courtesy Photo

Sitting on the first floor of the University Union (UU) in a red T-shirt and bucket hat, business administration sophomore Brett Edwards looks like the standard Cal Poly student. But on a search for “Mr. Eco,” viewers soon learn that Edwards isn’t the average student — he’s a superhero.

Edwards’ alter-ego, Mr. Eco, a rapping, cape-wearing superhero dedicated to spreading the word about Cal Poly’s Green Campus Program. The masked man’s mission is to get students thinking about living sustainably.

“The Green Campus Program focuses on getting students to reduce water and energy usage,” Edwards said. “And Mr. Eco is designed to make it catchy.”

The idea of Mr. Eco was first brought to the table last spring, when Edwards and the rest of the Green Campus Program were trying to come up with ideas for a video to inform incoming freshmen about the program. Edwards had always enjoyed rapping with his friends and decided to expand his musical career.

“I decided we should have a superhero that could be the face of the program,” he said. “We’re trying to get students to think about living sustainably by giving it a new perspective.”

And that perspective is a musical one. Mr. Eco will soon release a six song EP entitled “Brita Up in the Air.”

“I’m really excited about this EP thing,” he said. “I feel like once I have a larger body of work, I’ll be able to get the name out there more and gain a fan base.”

Acquiring that fan base was a major concern for mechanical engineering junior Ravi Sahai, who has worked on the Green Campus campaign for three years. He said when Edwards first presented the idea of Mr. Eco to him, he was hesitant because he knew that starting a grassroots movement wasn’t going to be easy.

“I was worried that (Edwards) wouldn’t be in it for the long haul,” Sahai said. “But obviously he was.”

That was last spring, and since then Edwards has spearheaded the residence hall energy competitions with his “lights out” dance, designed to serve as a constant reminder to nix the lights when leaving a room.

“It’s so funny, sometimes people come up to me and they’ll do the dance,” Edwards said. “I guess it’s catching on.”

That being said, Edwards said he feels nothing like YouTube sensations Rebecca Black or Antoine Dodson — his modesty is part of his charm.

From under his bucket hat, Edwards laughed at the idea of performing during UU hour as part of Concerts in the Plaza.

“That would be so cool,” he said. “But I’m definitely not there yet.”

Edwards’ responsibilities as Mr. Eco include making presentations to residence halls and classrooms, writing songs and making music videos. The music videos, he said, are a tiring process, and one he hopes to master with more experience.

“The first video must have taken me a month,” he said. “Getting all of the pieces of the puzzle together was so hard.”

But on top of becoming a rap sensation, Edwards also serves as the treasurer for the Green Campus Program. His mission right now is to work with Week of Welcome to incorporate Mr. Eco into spring training.

Green Campus is also working on granting workplace certifications to faculty and staff who are going above and beyond to go green. Sahai said his skepticism was quickly silenced once he saw the effects of Mr. Eco.

“I know that a lot of people have him in the back of their minds,” he said. “I think he really has made a difference.”

Edwards hopes he has. Nothing makes his day more, he said, than when people walk up to him and ask him if he’s Mr. Eco.

“It’s a pretty funny feeling,” he said. “But I guess people are starting to know who I am.”

Some freshmen students even wrote him a song in response to his music videos. Graphic communication freshman Jessye Levy and art and design freshman Lydia Baik posted a video on his Facebook wall, and Edwards said he had never been more excited.

“The fact that they got so inspired is amazing,” he said. “That’s the kind of influence I hope I can have everywhere.”

The song was written during the red brick energy competition, when Baik and Levy were sitting in their residence hall with the lights out.

“We wanted to write a song for Mr. Eco,” Levy said. “It just sounded like fun.”

Mr. Eco has six music videos on his YouTube channel. His EP will be released today and can be found at his website.

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