Plastics Just got Harder

The weather was very nice today and it is the first day of March! Wow, time has gone by really fast. As the semester goes on, the Environmental committee of the student assembly gets busier and busier. Today, Molly and I met with Juliet Parsons. She is head of facilities at Cornell and helps with various organizations on campus to plan events. We decided to have a talk with her because we want to slowly faze out the use of plastic water bottles at Cornell approved/ sponsored events. We want them to switch from using plastic bottles to reusable water bottles that could be handed out and collected at the end to be reused. With a huge number of events happening on campus all the time, this decrease in usage of bottles would not only cut costs for the organizations but also decrease plastic bottle waste.
Juliet gave us a pretty good idea of how events are run on campus. There is no designated committee that over see all of the events that run on campus. This would mean that implementing the idea of reusable cups to events a much harder task. Juliet suggested we talk to the commencement office because commencement uses stacks upon stacks of water bottles to hand out to students and parents as they go through the day. But changing this year’s commencement would be too late and we would have to keep and eye out and target commencement at the beginning of the next school year. Another place to start is the senior events and convocation officer from the student led activities office. This lady over sees all of the student group planning events and is the contact person for all student groups on campus. This would be a good place to advertise to people about the reusable cups that could be borrowed during events. Unfortunately, people care more about money than the environment so the best way to sell it to people would be telling them and showing them the numbers in terms of how much money they will be able to save.

Another place to contact and think about is Cornell Catering. They are the main cater for the majority of Cornell’s events. If we somehow tap into their system and ask them to advertise this water cup for us, it will be more effective and target a much larger audience.

From this meeting, we were able to learn that this is actually a lot harder than we thought it was going to be. There are various holes that we need to jump through in order to make this a reality. But our team is prepared and determined to make a change about water bottles on campus.

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