Sustainability Committee Pushes Campus Styrofoam Ban

Maddie Schieder Staff Writer

As many living on campus know, the University dining halls have been serving all meals “to-go.” However, all of this extra styrofoam being used to enjoy food outside the dining halls is not good for our environment. Junior Environmental Science major Olivia Brown is a member of the Student Sustainability Committee on campus. She answered some questions The Villanovan had about this organization and its current goals. 

The Villanovan: Can you tell us about the sustainability committee, as well as what you guys do and your role?

Olivia Brown: The Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) is a group of students from all majors across campus that are working towards making the University more sustainable in all aspects of life. There are a couple different groups within SSC such as food, water and energy, waste, collaboration, outreach and others that focus on a specific aspect within the University to try to change it for the better. I’m in the collaboration and outreach group, and we are working on projects that bring to light the poor recycling habits on campus, hopefully to be seen soon. We also try to collaborate with other clubs on campus and do joint projects or events that highlight sustainability in that club.

TV: What will the end of styrofoam do for our campus and community?

OB: The ban on styrofoam is long overdue and an easy fix, considering that we use it in some dining halls and not in others. If we are already buying the brown boxes for the Connelly Center, why can’t we have them in all dining halls? Although still not ideal, they are significantly better than styrofoam. We hope that the end to styrofoam will allow our administration to start consistently buying eco-friendly materials and stop buying horribly non-recyclable materials with the excuse of price.

TV: What other projects have you all worked on or plan to work on in the future?

OB: One project that we are specifically working on is creating an art piece to be displayed on campus made out of the plastic bottles people put in the trash instead of recycling them. This will  show the bad habits we still have, combined with the idea of recycling, and it will hopefully make people more aware of their habits and the impact they can have. But, that is still a plan in the works.

TV: Where can students find out more about the sustainability committee in order to help our environment?

OB: You can find us on Instagram @villanovasustainability or subscribe to the sustainability newsletter every month.

According to the Collier County Public Utilities Department in southern Florida, “Styrofoam releases toxic chemicals into the food causing contamination which can be hazardous to your health. In addition, when exposed to sunlight, styrofoam creates harmful air pollutants which contaminate landfills and deplete the ozone layer.”

Especially on college campuses, it is difficult to always be environmentally friendly given the fast pace of life. However, taking steps, like creating a petition for change, is a start to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, as led by our own Sustainability Committee against the avid use of styrofoam. As shown on the SSC’s Instagram given by Brown, there are so many places to begin, such as alternatives to food, beauty and home products provided by the committee, and it is an excellent resource for students on and off campus.