If Peirce Hall runs out of reusable plastic cups next week, students may be out of luck. From April 18-22, AVI will be eliminating all paper cups from the servery.
With this and other planned green initiatives, Student Council is trying to create a more environmentally conscious campus, according to Council President Phoebe Roe ’16. During meetings with Roe, AVI Resident Director Kim Novak expressed enthusiasm for Council’s recommendation to remove paper cups from Peirce during Earth Week, which runs April 18-22.
“We, as a campus, need to make tangible changes to acknowledge that we are in support of sustainability,” Roe said.
Council made the recommendation before Peirce began experiencing severe cup shortages this week, according to first-year class representative George Costanzo. To counteract the frustrations that may arise when even fewer cups are available to students, Council is sponsoring a cup and dish drive April 17. Council and Environmental Campus Organization (ECO) volunteers will collect cups, mugs and dishes from outside students’ dorm rooms and apartments.
“Hopefully we’ll have enough cups to last the week,” Council’s sustainability chair Matt Meyers ’17 said. “This will make students realize how wasteful they’re being keeping Peirce’s dishes and cups in their rooms and using thousands of paper cups every single day.”
Council recommended the Maintenance Department replace paper towels from all bathrooms with hand dryers before the end of the year. Constanzo conceded, in light of backlash by the first-year class last month to this initiative, students need alternatives to paper towels before the College will be willing to remove them.
Costanzo said it was his idea not to move forward with, “the idea of eliminating all paper towels from freshman dorms, at least for this year, after talking to most of the first-year students about the idea.” He said Council would remove paper towel dispensers only from where hand dryers are already installed.
Still, Council will advocate eliminating paper towels across campus next year, according to Roe. “Eliminating paper towels is something that a lot of other schools have done, and it’s worked well,” she said.
In recent weeks, Council has debated a mandatory “environmental pledge” for campus organizations that would consist of a promise to contribute to sustainability projects on campus. Such a pledge would pressure student organizations to reflect on how they might become more environmentally friendly. Council decided by an informal vote this past week it would not require student organizations to take the pledge but instead would recommend they do.
Next week, with guidance from the Student Activities Office, Roe plans to send out an environmental pledge to student organizations through OrgSync.