The Davis Collegiate Panhellenic Association (DCPA), currently comprising of 10 social sororities, has pledged to maintain a “zero waste” initiative at all philanthropic events — a bold step forward toward the creation of an even greener and environmentally friendly UC Davis campus community.
“The program is about increasing environmental awareness. Making events zero waste is an excellent choice in diverting waste from landfills and educating people on sustainable actions,” said Campus Center for the Environment (CCE) Sustainability Coordinator Samantha Rubanowitz.
Initially introduced by former ASUCD Senator Andre Lee, the project was directed mainly toward sororities due to the fact that they hold large-scale philanthropic events involving food and drinks, whereby plates, cups, utensils, napkins and other easily recyclable and compostable items can be made of use. In Fall 2010, Lee ran on a platform that included the initiative, meant to increase sustainability in the greek community, encourage all campus organizations to adopt policies warranting zero waste and promote composting.
“The initiative makes it feasible for student organizations to become environmentally conscious, and it’s a win-win situation: it’s good for the community and the environment,” Lee said.
Ordering compostable items either for events or everyday use is a relatively easy and simple process, involving the help of the CCE. Individuals or organizations simply order materials through CCE, and organize pick-up from Project Compost, a student-run organization encouraging greater involvement in composting.
Project Compost’s Alisa Kim has contributed greatly to the progression of the program, working alongside the ASUCD Senate and CCE to gain ground in providing DCPA with compostable materials. CCE also provides students with the opportunity to learn more about composting and encourages an environmentally-friendly campus community educated on the importance of sustainability.
“UC Davis strives to stand as a progressive institution — which today goes hand in hand with being environmentally sustainable. This is a huge step toward achieving sustainability. Furthermore, the model DCPA has taken on may serve as a model to other campus groups of how they can make their events sustainable, as well,” said ASUCD Senator Rebecca Sterling.
In addition to on-campus convenience, compostable items are price competitive and considering no tax is implemented on the purchased compostable materials, which are acquired directly through the ASUCD Coffee House, the plan is cost-effective as well.
“It’s important that we start re-evaluating our actions to be more sustainable and environmentally conscious. Every action counts and reducing waste, especially diverting landfill waste, is a huge step in the right direction,” Rubanowitz said.
The DCPA’s zero waste plan is compatible with the UC-wide goal for zero waste by the year 2020. The DCPA’s participation in composting will not only aid the community in becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, but it will also help UC Davis in general to gain ground in achieving the 2020 goal, according to Rubanowitz.
“As a community that represents approximately 10 to 15 percent of the undergraduate student body, greeks could set a great example for other student organizations by establishing this zero waste trend,” said DCPA President Leticia Cheng.
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