In one of my first meetings as an Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) officer, I remember jotting down that one of our club’s goals was to remove styrofoam cups from the Cap Bar.
At the time, it seemed highly improbable that this would happen during my time here at the University of Dallas.
Fast forward almost two years from that moment, and now the Cap Bar has made more sustainable improvements than I thought I’d ever see.
That’s not to say that I think that Aramark hates the environment, or that the school isn’t pushing the green agenda enough. Actually, I believe quite the opposite.
Companies like Aramark are large and complex corporations that have to take cost and profit into account when making decisions like changing from styrofoam cups to biodegradable cups.
I know that what seems like a small change to me (the cups going from styrofoam to paper) was actually a much larger shift for them. In fact, every UD student knows that change is often met with a flood of adversity.
For example, one must recall the great UD controversies of the past. Of course, what I am referring to is the straw-color issue.
Once upon a time, Aramark changed from one color of plastic straws to another, but had to switch them back quickly because the student body had a collective freak-out.
Simply put, we aren’t a zero-waste coffee shop yet, and we are far from it.
However, we are doing so much better now. The Cap Bar is using biodegradable plastics and papers, and has even instituted a discount for those who bring their reusable mugs to the Cap Bar.
All of these changes are aiding us as a community in our mission to respect our environment. As a Catholic institution, that is something we ought to hold dear to our hearts.
The greatest achievement in all of this that we ought to take notice of, however, is that we only achieved all of these great changes together.
These achievements were nothing but the hard-earned results of a group effort between the ECO club, Aramark and you all, the students.
ECO voiced that we wanted change. The Office of Student Affairs gave us the means to have a conversation with Aramark.
Really, the rest was just up to the university and Aramark, and they came through in a big way.
If we all listened to each other and actually thought about the greater good for our common home, improvements like this would occur more frequently.
Changes like this are proof both that we have the ability and bear the burden to enact positive growth. UD is our home, and as such, we are responsible for it.
If you have a good idea for how to make our community a better place, share it. If you’ve figured out a way to make UD a better home for us all, bring your solutions to the rest of us.
What’s next UD?