Whether it's students returning to campus or families making a cross-country move, Purdue's work in insect science has been showcased on the U-Haul trucks they've driven.
This firefly logo appears on the side of 1,200 U-Haul vehicles crisscrossing the nation. Purdue entomologist Tom Turpin helped U-Haul design a graphic saluting the science of bioluminescence.
A graphic with a firefly and "West Lafayette" inscribed on it decorates 1,200 U-Haul trucks in a company program that uses space on the vehicles for educational purposes.
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," says Steve Yaninek, professor and head of Purdue University's Department of Entomology.
The objective of the firefly image is to promote scientific education, says Purdue entomologist Tom Turpin, who was the inspiration for the project.
"It fit in perfectly with our mission of outreach education," he says.
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 says. "But U-Haul, with the SuperGraphic representing West Lafayette, put us on the road."