Column: It is important to be environmentally friendly

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez

Like many Eastern students, I spent the entire summer break both excited to be back on campus and anxious to see what rules Eastern would set in place to keep the community safe from Covid. Being back on campus for a whole month now, it is interesting to see how Covid has changed campus life with all the guidelines promoting cleanliness, social distancing, and good hygiene.

For the most part, I am happy with what Eastern has done to ensure students can still attend classes; participate in sports, RSOs, and Greek life; and eat at the dining halls. However, I am upset about the amount of plastic being wasted on the daily in this post-Covid world.

Pre-Covid, people had the option to eat at the dining halls with reusable silverware, dishes, and cups. Now, whether students choose to take food to-go or eat at the dining halls, they are provided a wrapped plastic cutlery set, a to-go box, and a disposable cup to eat their meals. Furthermore, Eastern requires that all food items (cookies, fruits, yogurt, etc.) out front be covered in Saran wrap or placed in plastic cups.

I understand and appreciate that Eastern is going to these lengths to protect the community. Regularly eating at the dining halls and seeing firsthand how the rules help limit the touching of high-touch surfaces makes me truly appreciate everything Eastern is doing.

However, it is sad thinking that after all the progress Eastern has made to be more environmentally friendly, we are now using and disposing of so much plastic, Styrofoam, and paper.

I have been thinking for a long time now that Eastern should promote more environmentally friendly dining and Eastern’s methods for limiting the spread of Covid proves that. One idea I had is that Eastern could start moving away from using Styrofoam to-go boxes and disposable cups by letting students bring their own reusable ones. Eventually, maybe we could even ban the use of single-use plastics at dining halls.

That may be tough to achieve considering the world we live in now, but it would be nice to see that happen some day in the future. That idea is just one of many that people may have to promote environmentally friendly dining, so I am sure a solution could be found.


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez is a junior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]