Over the past few years, Rollins College students have expressed their desire for a more sustainable campus, and faculty and staff listened. In recent years, Rollins has made changes which would make the campus more sustainable. Basic water fountains have been outfitted with hydration stations, which is simply an additional spout which can fill a reusable water bottle or jug with cold, filtered water. This made drinking water from reusable bottles more enjoyable. In addition to this, last school year, Sodexo, Rollins food service, sold boxed water. In addition, Sodexo provides biodegradable to-go boxes, which can be removed from the campus center for student use.
While these are all great ways of making the campus more sustainable, students still felt that the college was not doing enough to lessen our invironmental impact. In response to the plastic bag bans and taxes taking place throughout the United States, students expressed their desire to remove plastic grocery bags from all food service locations on campus. The Rollins Sustainability Coalition, with the support of student government, began to implement plans to remove plastic bags from food service locations during the 2016-2017 school year. In January 2017, students began to see positive change come to campus. Fewer and fewer grocery bags were provided for student use in the cafés, and in February the bags were completely removed from the cafés, and students were even urged to purchase reusable coffee cups.
Students saw big changes when they returned from spring break. During the week of March 20, Eco Rollins and Rollins Sustainability distributed free reusable bags for students. On March 27, all campus food locations stopped distributing plastic grocery bags to students. The Rollins C-Store, the convenience store on campus, one of the locations with the highest need to distribute plastic bags is now selling reusable bags for two dollars; however, students must purchase these bags with their own funding. Meal plan dollars cannot be used to purchase the bags.
While the removal of plastic grocery bags will be an inconvenience to some students at first, many students are taking this initiative … in stride. As college students, we may think that the purpose of our four years spent here is to simply prepare us for a career or graduate school; however, that is not the case. In college, we are also taught to think locally and act globally. One way to do this is by implementing sustainable practice on campus, so we can ensure a better tomorrow today.