Keene State College’s Eco Reps have nothing but new ideas to start the year off right. According to Rep Victoria Drake, the Eco Reps have a lot of new projects but are focusing on one in particular. Drake said the Eco Rep’s “end of the semester goal” is to eliminate plastic water bottles at commencement.
“We’re still working on our goal to ban the bottle all together at KSC, but we’re really focusing on commencement,” Drake said.
Every year at commencement, a plastic water bottle is placed under the chair of each graduate. This year, the Eco Reps would like to change that.
“Regardless if they use them or not, the bottles still have to be dumped out and recycled, which is a lot of extra waste and cost,” Drake said. She said the Reps have met with KSC President Anne Huot to discuss the matter. According to Drake, the President will allow the banning if enough signatures are received on a petition and the Reps come up with another source of water for the graduates.
“We’ve created our own separate petition for commencement itself,” Drake said. She said that the Reps are visiting off-campus housing to try and get signatures from KSC seniors.
Each Rep has a goal of 100 signatures, according to Drake. She said she tries to get signatures at least once a week. “We’ve been running around crazy trying to get pledges,” she said. She said the Reps were invited to have a table at the commencement fair. “We plan to get pledges from seniors to try and get on board with this,” she said.
Drake said the Reps are currently working on creating another source of water for graduation day. “We either want seniors to bring their own source of water and we’ll provide extras if needed, or we want to have gallons of water with cups to take as they please instead of creating the extra waste,” she said.
KSC senior Bentley Reif said he is “all for” bringing a reusable water bottle to commencement. “I think it’s a great idea to limit the amount of waste produced, especially at a controlled event,” Reif said.
To help spread the word of this project, Drake said the Eco Reps will be tabling in the student center for a week straight to “show students that [plastic bottles] are a problem.”
According to Drake, the Reps are building a water bottle display to show how much waste plastic water bottles create. She said anyone who is willing to help build the display is more than welcome.
“I think, like many other schools, KSC should make powerful moves to try and reduce the amount of plastic waste all over campus,” Reif said. He said he believes plastic bags, wrappers and bottles have “negative impacts” on the environment.
“It’s time we start to build a more sustainable culture throughout the Keene community,” he said.
Drake said the Reps do not have another meeting set up with the President, yet. “Right now we’re just trying to get signatures,” she said.
As for other projects, The Eco Reps said they have a few new projects in mind.
Drake said they are working on building a shelter for their green bikes. “We got a grant to make a shelter for the green bikes because the program is so big now and they have so many bikes so they need to put a place to put them,” Drake said. Green bikes are bikes on campus that students can rent for two weeks.
With Earth day coming up, the Eco Reps have decided to extend the day to Earth Week. Beginning April 22, the Reps will have activities set up with hopes to increase involvement and engagement on campus, according to Drake.
The Eco Reps also have a new website that will be posted soon. “It’ll have a lot of our information on it and it’s separate from the KSC page,” Drake said.
Drake said she is excited about the new projects coming up and welcomes anyone to help join the bottle banning efforts.
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at email@example.com