Waste on campus, staff works to educate

Between work, friends, food and everything else piling up on a student’s plate, saving the environment typically gets tossed in the trash.

Last Monday, April 22, Sodexo’s marketing team at the College brought awareness to wastefulness by showing students how much food is wasted in one lunch hour at the Atrium at Eickhoff. During the “Earth Day Plate Scrap,” several staff members stood at a table by the dish receptacle, sweeping leftovers into transparent buckets which would be measured by weight later that day.

Staff piles waste to highlight students’ poor eating habits. (Photo courtesy of Jack Meyers / Nation & World Editor)

“This year we had 50 pounds of waste,” said Caitlin Moskwa, unit marketing coordinator for Sodexo. “Our goal is to make them more conscious of what they take in this all-you-can-eat setting.”

This was done in celebration of Earth Week, coordinated by WaterWatch. Throughout the week, campus-wide events took place to illuminate how students impact their surroundings on a daily basis.

In 2007, students wasted a whopping total of 221 pounds over the span of two hours, according to Joanna Brunell, area marketing coordinator for the Sodexo at the College. With awareness campaigns across the campus and student’s weaning off of tray use in response, the solutions have already begun to set in.

Moskwa and her team are not the only ones arguing the value of awareness.

In fact, one College student spends much of her time teaching others how to cut down on water and energy consumption and, ultimately, how to preserve nature.

“By educating everyone where they make the most of their environmental mistakes, we can train people to be more mindful (elsewhere),” explained Tarika Mahal, leader of the sustainability ambassadors and site leader of the Bonner Center’s environment team.

Mahal began the sustainability ambassadors this semester as “a grassroots movement that starts in the resident halls,” where she explained, “people still don’t know how to recycle” nor understand “the importance of taking shorter showers.”

The diverse conglomeration of groups and initiatives on campus that have contributed to progress over the years include WaterWatch, which aims to “better the environment” via student-focused activities, and PC3, President R. Barbara Gitenstein’s commitment to conserving energy and water.

With a myriad of sources on how to cut down, one of Mahal’s goals is to “bridge the gap” between groups like WaterWatch and the Bonner Center, fusing the outside community with the student body.

“By doing so, we would be able to tackle different issues, like re-vamping the library’s recycling system or make it a custom to use reusable bags in the C-store,” Mahal said.

With new relations proposed, the College faces new opportunities to save itself and the environment.