Marshall Borrus ‘20
As Williams Environmental Council closes another academic year we reflect on all that the group has done. We kicked off our year with Waste Reduction Week. This was a week long initiative to get students more conscious of their waste and how it affects the planet and others living on it. The premier event was a Waste Panel where we brought in members of dining services, facilities, faculty, and TAM (the local composting facility) to discuss the life of waste on campus. Where it goes, how much of it we produce, and what we can do better. Other events on the docket were Stressbusters with local food, a screening of Wall-E, and a Bring Your Own Cup party.
Later on in the year we turned our focus towards making EcoCafe more eco. The results were that we were able to get composting put in and will hopefully have the single-use plastic water bottles removed by next year. Terracylcing was also expanded across campus and there are now receptacles in (first floor) Sawyer, Eco, and Paresky. We also attended the Yale New Directions in Environmental Law Conference for the second year in a row. Lastly, we continued the annual inter-entry competition of Do It In The Dark. This year we changed to an action/point based system in an attempt to influence more long-term changes. Two entries blew us away and tied for first and are sharing a puppy party.
Our last big project was Earth Week. Some of our events included the bag-making for the BagShare project. 10 devoted bag-makers up-cycled 85 birdseed/horsefeed/barleymalt bags into ‘stylish’ totes for the residents of Adams to help their single use bag ban. Our contribution helped put them over the halfway mark to their 8,400 bag goal. Hundreds of thousands of these grain bags are thrown out each year and require the equivalent of 33 grocery store bags to produce. With our 85 bags alone we saved the equivalent of 2,400 grocery bags from entering a landfill. These bags will continue to save even more as they are used in place of those grocery bags. We also hosted our annual clothing swap allowing students to trade clothing they have grown out of or don’t wear to reduce the impact of buying and throwing out clothing. The last event was tap water tasting as part of our larger initiative to reduce plastic bottle water usage on campus. Next year we hope to reunite GreenEphs and increase inter-group work and communication. Thanks to CES for supporting WEC & Earthweek.