Local Gator Making a Difference: Leanne Sheffer
Politics and Activism

Local Gator Making a Difference: Leanne Sheffer

"I wanted to shed light on the fact that you can still go out, have a good time, but be environmentally conscious; all it takes is bringing your own cup along with you for the night."

262

In the midst of tailgates and ladies' night, it is easy to forget about the harmful environmental consequences that our actions often inadvertently cause. From the noise and light pollution that disturbs wildlife in our community, to litter that is often strewn about the streets of Gainesville. One local Gator has gone above and beyond the norm to ensure that the community has a better understanding of not only their harmful actions but what they can do to make a significant difference in their everyday lives.

In this edition of Local Gators Making a Difference, we follow the story of Leanne Sheffer. Sheffer is a freshman at the University of Florida who constantly works to reduce her ecological footprint, as well as spread information on environmental-safe practices to her peers.


What is the project/ message you intend to share?

I was working on a project to reduce single use plastics in Gainesville by trying to incentivize both college students and bar owners to switch to more sustainable options. I created the BYOC movement that puts an emphasis on students bringing a reusable cup along with them to bars so that they do not have to repeatedly waste plastic. I met with various bar owners and discussed various options for reducing their waste and plastic use such as switching to biodegradable plastic, giving discounts to those who BYOC, plastic free happy hours, or eliminating plastic straws. My ultimate message was attempting to sensitize college students to the vast amounts of plastic they consume every week and show them the easy ways to help reduce.

What was your inspiration for this idea?

BYOC in Action

Photo provided by Leanne Sheffer

For my Facets of Sustainability class, we had the choice to create a simulated project for our final or to actually work on a project with the goal of bringing about real change within our community- I chose the latter. As a student that goes out often, I personally saw people going through multiple plastic cups every night, throwing away each one not giving it a second thought where this "away" is- sadly, it's the environment. I wanted to shed light on the fact that you can still go out, have a good time, but be environmentally conscious; all it takes is bringing your own cup along with you for the night.

What have you already done to make this happen?

The first step we wanted to accomplish for our project was to acquire support and spread the message of our organization, to do this we created an online petition that people could sign to pledge their support in bringing their own cup when going out to bars or parties. We ended up receiving over 300 signatures on our petition. The next step we took with this project was reaching out to various organizations and sources such as, the president of the organization #UNLITTER, who is also a bartender at White Buffalo, We Are Neutral, a carbon calculating company in Gainesville, and of course many bars across Gainesville including Grog, Simons, The Swamp, White Buffalo, and JJ's.

In teams of two, we assigned each team a bar to work on reducing their use of single-use plastics, the team would contact the bar and schedule a meeting with them to discuss the introduction of sustainable practices. Through the outreach, with the petition, we were able to find people within the community of Gainesville to work alongside us and introduce us to more people in the bar and club community. As we talked to more bars and people, our proposal shifted to become more adaptive as we learned what worked best with bar owners.

Some of Leanne's most notable accomplishments include:

  • Simons agreed to only give out plastic straws per request rather than with every drink!
  • Eco-Night at Visionary 11/30 (pre-established event but turning it into a BYOC)
  • Visionary agreed to try out biodegradable plastic (Tijuana Flats)
  • Plastic Free Happy Hour at White Buffalo
  • Plastic Free Happy Hour at The Range
  • Celinos Art Show Reception hosted by the Bull agreed to be tagged as an eco-night

So how can YOU contribute?


This is the first article in an ongoing series about Gainesville locals making a community-wide impact in creative and unique ways. If you or someone you know is making a difference within the community, please reach out to me [at giadejesus3@gmail.com] to possibly be featured in the next "Local Gator Making a Difference" article!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Podcasts are such an integral part of some of our everyday lives that it can be hard to recall a time at which they didn't exist. Podcasts exist on about every single topic, from dating to celebrity gossip and Harry Potter.

Now more than ever, it's likely you're reeling from the news, and (hopefully) wanting to do something about it in order to educate yourself. Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the most up-to-date information in a conversational, personal way from some of today's top educators, scholars, and theorists.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

Stop Pitying Me Because I'm Single, I'm Very Happy With My Relationship With Myself

I don't need your opinions on why I'm single and you're not. We are two different people.

I'm so happy for my friends when they get into relationships, but that doesn't mean they get to have control over my love life, and that is what bothers me. For the record, I've been in four relationships, one lasting for three years, so I do understand relationships.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

13 Books About Race Absolutely Every American Should Read, Especially Now

Books about black lives, from classics to new must-reads.

It's likely you are seeing the current state of the world and wanting to do something about it. Whether you're only beginning to or wanting to deepen your understanding of the black experience, these books are precisely where to start.

Some, like Maya Angelou's "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, are classics you've probably heard of, but may not have picked up yet. Others, like Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race," are newer hits.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

What's Coming To And Leaving Netflix In June For Your Summer Viewing Pleasure

Just in time for another your summer binge-watch list.

Paramount Pictures

The first of the month is now here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones.

Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during June.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

I Was At The Atlanta George Floyd Protests, Here's What It Was Like Before The Violence Started

What started out as a peaceful protest quickly resulted in destruction, with mixed opinions leading narratives on both sides.

When I heard about the protests happening in my city in honor of George Floyd, a black man who was brutally and fatally detained by police in broad daylight, I was conflicted about the best way for me to support a cause that I was passionate about. The senseless killings of people of color in America had been weighing on me, and I was eager for a way to help, to do my part. I wanted to be out on the ground with my community, having our voices heard. However, there was the issue of the coronavirus, a very real and troublesome threat that is still controlling our daily lives.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

If You Can Eat Crap And Stay Thin You Aren't Healthy, You're Lucky

A high metabolism isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card!

Photo by Tarutoa on Unsplash

Everyone has that one friend — the one who eats to their heart's content but never gains an ounce. Meanwhile, you feel like you gain five pounds just stealing a glance at a hamburger! My childhood best friend was like that, much to my chagrin. Anyone who hadn't witnessed her eat might be tempted to say that she was thin because of her diet, but she would sometimes eat a bag of Sour Patch Kids as a "meal." One time, I watched in awe as she chowed down on a "salad" made up of one part romaine lettuce, two parts shredded cheddar cheese, and two parts French dressing — it was nothing more than a red lake of dressing with bits of green and orange debris floating in it. Clearly our definitions of "salad" were quite different, as were our perceptions of a balanced meal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I Started Dating A Guy Before Quarantine, But Now We Rarely Speak Unless I Double-Text

"He's really nice and cute and I like being around him when we see each other, but he's awful at communication."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments