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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Picnic Day sees increase in sustainability

With Picnic Day just around the corner, students, faculty and guests can look forward to the first ever 100 percent sustainable production of goods from booths on the quad.

In efforts to stop landfill from becoming excessive, the Student Organizations Faire has joined forces with the ASUCD Coffee House, the Picnic Day board, ASUCD, Sodexo and the Waste Reduction and Recycling committee to ensure that booths on the quad will be providing 100 percent compostable products.

“Davis sees itself as an environmentally friendly campus and the students see themselves as environmentally conscious,” said ASUCD Senator Andre Lee. “Because Picnic Day is an event that represents our student values and our community, these efforts which we have taken will help to put our best face forward as a university.”

The efforts to have sustainable products have been made possible due to sponsorship from organizations, restaurants and companies around the community, along with the help of an ASUCD budget allocation.

All together, the Picnic Day board has raised over $6,000 for this year’s event.

“Generally speaking, a lot of materials that are compost friendly are more expensive to buy, but between the budget allocation and the partnership with the Coffee House and our sponsorships, the student groups and booths are not spending extra money,” Lee said.

Aside from having 100 percent compostable utensils and dishware, each booth is required to have a plaque that provides information on the compostable products and sustainable efforts.

The quad will also feature 16 different landfill diversion stations, said Allen Doyle, university sustainability manager.

Each landfill diversion station will have three separate slots for compost, recycling and landfill, as well as a volunteer to remind people of the unique opportunity to compost and recycle at Picnic Day, Doyle said.

According to greenreportcard.org, a national organization that looks at the sustainability of different colleges across the United States, Davis is said to be a leader in its sustainability efforts.

“Sustainability embodies the open house nature of Picnic Day: visitors and students participate in the future vision of UC Davis,” Doyle said. “The whole UC System has a goal of being a Zero Landfill campus by 2020.”

Hoping to increase awareness, the Picnic Day board has set up a Picnic Day Sustainability information booth that will provide information for guests about sustainable efforts going on in the Davis community and ways to get involved. The booth will also sell pins and bags. Profits will go toward the ASUCD philanthropy, Cal Aggie Camp.

“Our greatest hope is that quad visitors will develop Zero Landfill expectations of UC Davis, then their workplace and home, building habits for the rest of their lives,” Doyle said.

Picnic Day is the largest student-run event in the nation and is extremely dependent on the help of volunteers, said Charlie Colato, senior managerial economics major and chair of the Picnic Day board.

Students who are interested in volunteering can contact volunteer director Diana Kim, or visit volunteerdir@picnicday.ucdavis.edu for information on how to help.

For more information on Picnic Day visit picnicday.ucdavis.edu/ and to find out more information about UC Davis sustainability visit sustainability.ucdavis.edu/.

RACHEL LEVY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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