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"Skip the Straw Day" encourages students to go green

by Panagiotis Argitis - Editor-in-Chief
Wed, Feb 27th 2019 03:00 pm

Within the past decade, environmental and climate shifts have been more apparent than ever before. The race to save our planet has already begun and movements toward an eco-friendly societal lifestyle are constantly growing. While green energy and earth-sustainable materials are used by people across the world, the impact of changes within large communities can prove to be the key to maintaining the planet we call home for years to come. 

Similar to countries, towns and villages, colleges and their students are communities themselves. Like many others, The College at Brockport has made an effort to promote eco-friendly habits on its campus. Developments of gas-efficient vehicle parking, energy saving and material usage have created a greener campus but it’s the student actions who contribute the most to Brockport’s environmentally conscious values. Perhaps the biggest influence toward better actions are student groups. 

Brockport organizations have been responsible for numerous events that educate and show students the importance of caring for the environment. Most recently, the Brockport Student Government (BSG) in collaboration with the Environmental Club added to the cause with “Skip the Straw Day.” The event was held on Friday, Feb. 22 at the Seymour Student Union and promoted the use of reusable metal, eco-friendly straws in the fight against plastic straws. 

The event was spearheaded by BSG Activities Coordinator Sarah Martelle and Environmental Club President Molly Carlson where the pair answered questions regarding the push toward a greener Brockport, educated students on the harm behind the use of plastic straws and gave out free metal straws. 

The metal straws provided were produced by the company Stems and can be found on Amazon in a complimentary box of 200 straws for $10 dollars. In addition to the metal straws, each bundle included two paper straws in a variety of colors, two biodegradable straws and a metal cleaning scrub. 

While giving students at the college an opportunity to use metal straws might seem minuscule at first glance, eliminating any plastic from the campus is a huge step forward. 

“We want to show that Brockport is a college that cares about sustainability,” Martelle said. “These are very small steps but we as Brockport believe in a better campus.” 

“Skip the Straw Day” hosted more than 100 students and helped support the college’s call to action against plastic straws. In the past year, Harrison and Brockway dining halls, along with the rest of the eateries, massively cut down on the plastic straw supply they received in previous years, resulting in the elimination of approximately 300,000 straws campus-wide. 

Brockport’s efforts to creating an eco-friendly campus have only begun and are looking to continue into the near future with an emphasis on saving the planet in any way possible. Environmental Club president Carlson highlighted some of these future plans while presenting information on the harm of plastic straws during the event. 

“We are working to have compost bins for all of the throw-away food found at the dining halls,” said Carlson. “Also we are hoping to get signatures for an endorsement of a national courtesy pricing policy, so we are excited for what’s to come.”

Apart from the free metal straw provided at “Skip the Straw Day,” students had the chance to win additional prizes by tagging @BSGMedia on social media with a picture of them using the straw and showcasing the importance of making a more eco-friendly Brockport. Upon receiving the metal straw, students were not hesitant to show the importance of it. 

“I believe it is very important for people to educate themselves on being environmentally conscious and this event does just that,” Brockport student Jolie Saltiel said. “People don’t know biodegradable straws even exist and I think it’s very important for everyone to learn.”  

Sustaining planet Earth is vital for all parts of the world and its future. Taking action against environmentally harmful habits and replacing plastic materials with reusable ones makes a bigger impact when done by a community.

stylus@brockport.edu | @panosargitis

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