Green group confronts environmental issues in Residence Halls

By By Arthur Raymond

By Arthur Raymond

A recent experiment at the Heritage Center cafeteria showed that students’ eyes are bigger than their stomachs.

Leftover food from more than 700 student diners at the Heritage Center was collected and weighed on Oct. 24. More than 150 pounds of food were collected during the event called “Scrape the Plate.” The effort was organized by the Sage Point Green Team, a student group formed to advocate environmental issues at campus housing facilities. The group wants students to take as much food as they can eat.

Jay Wilgus, residential education coordinator, is helping the new group organize and get off the ground. He said the exercise at the cafeteria was intended to help students think about waste.

“The next step is to do ‘Scrape the Plate’ again, but this time we’ll let students know about it,” Wilgus said.

The goal is to reduce food waste as much as possible. Wilgus noted that Chartwells has offered to make a food donation to a local charity matching the difference, in pounds, of leftovers between the two nights.

Sy Maestas, a freshman majoring in environmental studies, said she heard about the new group via a poster at the Heritage Commons. She said she’d heard about the new campus recycling program and wanted to get involved with the effort.

“I think that focusing on education is the most important first step,” Maestas said. “We’re hoping to get new recycling containers (for Sage Point) and letting people know they’re here and how to use them.”

The initial efforts of the Sage Point Green Team, such as getting new recycling containers, will focus on issues specific to the Residence Halls, but they hope to become part of the bigger campus effort.

Jennifer Colby, coordinator in the U’s Office of Sustainability, met with members of the group to talk about the “big picture” of sustainability at the U and is excited about its formation.

“Residence Halls have a key role to play?peer-to-peer advocacy (on sustainability issues) is a very effective way to educate and focus on issues,” Colby said.

Colby also said that she would like her office to function as a facilitating and coordinating body for the expanding list of environmental student groups on campus.

The office plans to form a student sustainability network that would link and coordinate the efforts and projects of student groups. Colby said that many groups have come forward to express an interest in sustainability issues and that, by connecting the groups and their goals, she hopes to keep groups from overlapping their efforts. She said that there is “plenty of work to be done?and plenty of work to go around.”

As for the Sage Point Green Team, Wilgus said the group is recruiting new members and working on a plan for establishing short- and long-term goals.

Students interested in becoming a part of the group are encouraged to attend a meeting on Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. in Sage Point Building 811.

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Tyler Cobb

Faustine Escandor, a freshman Film student, and Joe Hernandez, a freshman studying architecture, collect food that students did not eat in the Heritage Center. A total of 150 pounds of food was collected.