TU removes straws, trays

By Sophia Bates, Staff Writer

Photo by Mary-Ellen Davis/ The Towerlight

Towson University has removed straws across campus and removed trays from three dining halls this year part of the campus efforts to be more environmentally efficient.

  According to Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services Daniel Slattery, the change started with the Chartwells team.

  “Chartwells operations team asked me that we consider both of these conservation efforts as they were being asked to do the same at other accounts,” Slattery said. “Since the University is committed to such initiatives and regularly seeks areas where we can be more sustainable, compost more, conserve more, recycle more and remove items from the waste stream, it seemed to make sense.”

  Some students are reacting positively to this change.

  “I think this is amazing,” junior Kristina Lopez said. “I’m a big supporter of trying to keep the environment cleaner, healthier, and safer for people and animals.”    

The change is projected to lead to a reduction in water usage in dish rooms as well as plastic going into our waste stream, according to Slattery.

  Slattery added that trays were removed from Newell Dining nearly two years ago and the university felt it was necessary to make the change in the other two halls too.

  “Not having to run trays through the dish machines saves water, not having trays to pile food that may go uneaten will reduce food waste,” Slattery said.

  For sophomore Joshua Diaz, straws do not seem like the core issue of environmental stability.

  “I think it would only help a little bit,” Diaz said. “I don’t believe that they [straws] are the main source of pollution for colleges and the world.”

Slattery brought up the For a Strawless Ocean campaign that’s working across the nation currently. The campaign started in the Northwest and has generated a lot of national interest lately, according to Slattery.

  “The state of California had made it a priority, as has Starbucks, and locally- Greene Turtle,” he said. “An estimated 500 million straws are discarded annually in the U.S alone, many of which end up in our ocean waters.”

  Lopez brought up the discomfort that students may feel asking for a straw.

  “It will probably be a little unusual to hear someone ask you if you want a straw,” Lopez said.

  Slattery hopes that discomfort doesn’t affect how students view the change.

  “We hope that while some may see it as an inconvenience to ask a manager for a straw or tray, most will view this as another positive step in our commitment to the environment,” Slattery said.

  Lopez agrees in that this change could positively help the environment.

“I think it’s amazing that Towson is going the extra mile to help the environment- even if it seems like it’s just the littlest thing,” she said. “It will make a big difference.”

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