Step 4 – A Sustainable Community

Reading about the successes and struggles of “Team Coffee Cup/No Plastic Bottles” was a motivating factor in maintaining my newly found sustainable habit. We have encountered similar problems with temptations and convenience, but we have all stuck to the challenge, which has had an overall rewarding result. While relying on my reusable Contigo water bottle instead of purchasing the ever-so-convenient Dasani bottles from Lower Farinon, I have realized that most of my paper and bottle waste is now from near-daily consumption of coffee, and that my next challenge should be similar to the ones pursued by my group members for this challenge. Our current successes have relied on steady willpower to not simply swipe for a number of water bottles or coffee cups at Lower Farinon, and in that regard we’ve stayed strong. The small community we’ve forged in this sustainable behavior challenge has been a helpful motivating factor.

I’m not as confident in the Lafayette community as a whole in moving towards more sustainable practices. Because of how easily it is to grab a number of Dasani water bottles or coffee cups for just a meal equivalency, students are consuming large amounts of plastic and paper products. Our past blogs have discussed the large amounts of plastic and paper waste due to lack of proper recycling, so from a statistical standpoint, it would seem that a large amount of preventable waste is occurring on campus due to meal equivalency policy. A lot of paper cups are used at Skillman Cafe as well, as students are not necessarily encouraged to bring their own mugs or thermoses to use as coffee or tea vessels.

There are some brighter points on campus though, including the “Take Back the Tap” petition, which is encouraging the student body to reduce the carbon footprint of the school. Numerous fliers have been posted around campus regarding the petition, and I think it’s a step in the right direction for promotion of sustainable habits on campus.

The sustainable behavior challenge has increased my awareness of all of my habits, and I often think about how I could decrease my carbon footprint on a daily basis. Often, though, because of convenience and habit, I find it difficult to make sudden changes in behavior and have tried to focus on a few small things at once instead. It’s been helpful for me to see everyone in the class trying to improve their daily activities, and it is a good step for the sustainable future of Lafayette College.


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