There are over 500 million straws used daily in the United States and people continuously consume plastic products that are bad for the environment. Priscilla Ziegler, the vice president of the Leaders for Environmental Awareness Protection Club (VU LEAP) has a desire to reduce the amount of plastic used on campus.
This was a cause close to Ziegler, who refused to stand on the sidelines, so she brought it to VU LEAP’s attention. They found an organization called Simply Straws located in Costa Mesa who makes reusable glass straws, along with other reusable products to take the place of plastic ware.
With that in mind, Ziegler decided to take on a challenge for the entire Vanguard community to participate in. The challenge is to make a pledge on social media to not use plastic straws. The more Vanguard students that pledge, the higher the ranking is for the entire school.
Vanguard is currently placed 14th out of the 100 other colleges and universities that are participating.
To make a pledge for the campaign, students post #PledgeAgainstPlasticStraws with an inspiring photo or video on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Participants get a free glass straw for pledging.
Ziegler hopes to make a push for Samson’s to sell glass straws for students to purchase and use instead of the use of plastic straws on campus.
Giovanni Leon, a sophomore student worker at Samson’s Café stated that Samson’s uses plastic-free utensils, which is a great step in the right direction for environmental benefits on campus.
“I personally do not think we will move away from plastic straws just because of budgets and the fact that they are so cheap to buy,” Leon said.
It all began when Ziegler wanted to buy a glass straw try in out for herself. When she went to go pick it up, a Simply Straws associate told her that they are having a campus challenge open for any college to participate across the United States and nationally to get the most pledges for their campus to win 100 glass straws.
“It’s really so simple and we really don’t realize how much plastic we are using on the daily basis because it’s normal, it’s just daily living,” said Ziegler. “Getting people out of the habit of using plastic every day, even if it is just a straw, is a great start.”
Senior Tamara Szulc, VU LEAP’s president, stated that she also has a glass straw of her own and that she loves using it. It’s very convenient and small so you can take it with you wherever you go.
“I really hope that students catch onto the effects on the environment when they use plastic straws,” Szulc said.
VU LEAP’s hopes of doing this challenge is to not only open the eyes of students on the effects of using and wasting plastic straws, but to also make them more aware about the use of other plastic necessities that we use daily.
Szulc also hopes that by doing this challenge, it will open the opportunities for Vanguard to be an environmentally friendly school and be more involved in recycling and more conscientious about how we are using plastic in our everyday lives.
“We recently had our Earth Day fair for the first time ever and we are hoping to do it again in the future,” Szulc said. “We want to do as much as we can to get students involved.”
Ziegler stated that VU LEAP is also hoping that Vanguard can get some recycling bins of their own and then use that money earned to further better the environment here in Costa Mesa and at Vanguard. By reducing the use of plastic at Vanguard, it will not only benefit the environment, but we will hopefully be an example to inspire other schools to do the same thing as us.
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