Last semester I was part of the Environmental Committee in Student Assembly and was part of the plastics subcommittee. The main project that I worked on was to impose a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles on campus. My groups and I decided to take on this issue because we noticed that a large number of people still uses plastic water bottles which is very unsustainable.
Our plan of action was to write a resolution through Student Assembly and if it passes, then it would be sent to President Garrett. Who would have the final say on the resolution.
This isn’t the first time a resolution has been written about banning the sales of plastic water bottles on campus, our predecessors wrote and successfully passed a resolution in 2010 that addressed the same issue. Their resolution was approved in part by then President Skorton and suggested to work together with dining, the sustainability office and the student assembly in order to develop a comprehensive plan that would gradually phase out the use of water bottles on campus. Although a task force on water bottles has been created, there since has not been much progress on this matter. This is why we decided to write a resolution to bring attention back to this issue.
In order to make our resolution proposal much more effective, my group also decided to send out a petition to the Cornell community addressing the ban of plastic water bottles. Over a space of 2 weeks, over 800 students, staff and faculty signed the petition, showing their support towards the movement.
The resolution was eventually debated passed the Student Assembly despite quite a lot of backlash. However, over winter break President Garrett emailed the environmental committee saying that she has used her presidential powers to veto the resolution. She thought that banning the sale of water bottles would increase the number of soda drinks that people buy, decreasing campus health. Although we were all bummed out about this result, my group is still going try to achieve what we tried to do last year. More about this to follow.