U-Haul trucks sport image touting insect science

July 28, 2010

Purdue University professor of entomology Tom Turpin helped U-Haul design a graphic saluting the science of bioluminescence. The firefly logo, shown at a news conference Wednesday (July 28) in West Lafayette, will appear on the side of 1,200 U-Haul vehicles. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Some Purdue University students could showcase the university's work in insect science simply as they drive a U-Haul truck from their home to campus or an apartment in time for the fall semester.

A graphic with a firefly and "West Lafayette" inscribed on it will decorate 1,200 U-Haul trucks in a company program that uses space on the vehicles for educational purposes. The image on the side of one truck was shown at a U-Haul rental center in West Lafayette during a news conference Wednesday (July 28).

U-Haul has been decorating its moving trucks with its SuperGraphics images of distinctive features of every state and Canadian province since 1988. The West Lafayette graphic is part of the company's Venture Across America campaign, which highlights little-known facts about North America.

The graphic features the iconic firefly in flight and illustrates bioluminescence, the ability of an organism to produce light through chemical reaction.

"What better way to engage people's curiosity about insects," said Steve Yaninek, professor and head of Purdue's Department of Entomology.

The objective of the firefly image was to promote scientific education, said Purdue entomologist Tom Turpin, who was the inspiration for the project with the company.

"It fit in perfectly with our mission of outreach education," he said.

Mayor John R. Dennis said the image associated with West Lafayette will provide more exposure for the city that is home to Purdue.

"Purdue put us on the map," he said. "But U-Haul, with the SuperGraphic representing West Lafayette, put us on the road."

Writer:  Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu

Sources:  Steve Yaninek, 765-494-4544, yaninek@purdue.edu

                   Tom Turpin, 765-494-4568, turpinf@purdue.edu

                   Mayor John Dennis, 765-775-5103

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Related websites:

Purdue Department of Entomology

U-Haul SuperGraphics Program