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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Student interns lead campus sustainability efforts

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
October is campus sustainability month at Marquette University.

October is campus sustainability month at Marquette University. The purpose of this initiative is to educate the Marquette community on eco-friendly choices and encourage them to develop environmentally considerate habits.

At Marquette several students are making the campus more sustainable through different initiatives. One sustainable effort is the reinstatement of the Green Ozzi containers in dining halls throughout campus.

Chelsea Malacara, sustainability & energy management coordinator, is working on this project alongside student interns. The Green Ozzi containers are reusable containers that students are able to take their dining hall meals to-go in. Currently, they are only available at Schroeder dining and Marquette Place in the Alumni Memorial Union. Ally Olsen, a sophomore in the College of Arts &  Sciences, is one of the student interns working with Malacara on the project.

“This is the first time that we took initiative and decided we needed to get them back into use. Especially with a lot of students taking food to go still, it’s important that we don’t use all of those disposable containers and have all that waste that we are generating,” Olsen said. 

Olsen said that students need to let the dining employees know that they wish to take their meal to go in one of the containers. Students may return the container to one of the two return machines. Both Schroeder dining and the AMU have return machines. Students can return their containers to either return location, no matter where they originally got the container from. 

Olsen said that many students are not aware that these containers are an option for taking food to go. She hopes that promotional efforts over the next year will help educate students on how the container system works and why it is important to take advantage of it. 

According to a 2018 study done by the Environmental Protection Agency, containers and packaging produced 82.2 million tons of waste that year. Food and beverage containers and packaging were two contributing products. The same type of one time use  containers are what students are currently using to take food to-go. By offering this reusable alternative, Olsen hopes that the Green Ozzi containers will help reduce the amount of waste the campus generates. 

A student-run effort that pushes to make another sustainable change on campus is Rewear it MU. The organization holds “clothing swaps” once a month. As co-founder Paula Paliwoda, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, described it, the swaps are just like thrifting, but for free. Students are not required to bring items to the swap in order to participate in it. 

“[The clothing swaps] inspire students to be a little more sustainable and also shows how sustainability does not have to be expensive or super hard,” Paliwoda said. 

September’s clothing swap saw over 642 items swapped and saved 879,000 gallons of water, Paliwoda said. Clothing manufacturing uses a significant amount of water, so shopping second hand helps eliminate that usage. The next clothing swap will take place Oct. 14 from 2-4 p.m. in the AMU. 

Similar to the Green Ozzi containers, Rewear it MU strives to encourage the student body to practice sustainable living, in any capacity they can. Paliwoda also mentioned how they are using Instagram to educate the student body on sustainable habits, business and products. 

“If we want to advocate for the well-being of all, like Marquette’s mission is ‘being the difference,’ [then] I think it’s important to know exactly where your things are coming from,” Paliwoda said. 

Malacara said campus sustainability month has the potential to have major impacts on the student body and the community. 

“I want folks to be inspired to take action, feel encouraged that Marquette is moving the needle forward on advancing sustainable practices here, and to be empowered to be a part of that advancement at Marquette and beyond,” Malacara said. 

Sustainability events and activities will be held across campus for the remainder of the month. A calendar of events can be found here.

This story was written by Kiley Brockway. She can be reached at [email protected]

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