University Looks to Students in Effort To Drive Down Waste

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Wraith also spoke about the struggles she has experienced over the years when it comes to implementing Green ideas. While she acknowledges that “it’s not that the University doesn’t help and work with students,” she said the process can be slow.

“It’s not really as simple as asking for something and then getting immediate action,” Wraith said.

She mentioned the work put into the Beyond the Bottle Campaign, which is seeking to eliminate the sale of plastic bottles on campus and increase the number of water fountains or filling stations. In a referendum question passed on the Undergraduate Council ballot in the Fall, students showed support for the movement.

Still, the end is not completely in sight. Because less than half of undergraduates voted in the election, UC members are not mandated to write an official stance on the matter, and they have not yet done so.

For Wraith, better collaboration between the University and students is necessary.

“We should be really building this infrastructure,” she said.

EDUCATE AND EXCITE

Many of those interviewed spoke about the importance of educating and empowering students to reduce trash, especially food waste going forward.

Although Harvard has been recovering refuse for composting since 1991 and has increased its efforts in landscaping and food composting recently, according to an OFS document, Gogan said that much unconsumed food still is left in the trash.

“To me that’s the greatest sinto take a product that could have nourished human consciousness, the most valuable resource in the world that we know of, and just send it to a landfill where its just going to burp methane and accentuate problems caused by global warming,” Gogan said.

In order to increase environmental awareness, many emphasize the importance of reaching out to students and exciting them about the topic. Already, the OFS uses competitions and sustainability grants, which allow students to pitch ideas and receive funding to implement them, among other means to build a better relationship with students.

Still, Houston said there could be more effective ways to educate and excite people.

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