University Of Florida Participates In Kill The Cup Challenge

University Of Florida Participates In Kill The Cup Challenge

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With fall in full swing, have you ever wondered what happens to your coffee cup after you finish sipping your favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Starting on Oct. 5, The University of Florida will compete against 15 other universities in the nation’s largest reusable cup contest.

This four-week challenge, entitled “Kill the Cup,” will run from Oct. 5 to Oct. 30. It encourages students to promote reusable coffee cups and reduce disposable cup usage.

“It’s a competition based off which university can increase their reusable cup percentage the most,” said Allison Vitt, Outreach Coordinator for the UF office of Sustainability.

Many people are unaware that coffee cups are not recyclable due to the necessary lining for hot coffee. Therefore, the cups end up at landfills, Vitt said.

Small changes, such as bringing a reusable cup to your favorite coffee shop, can make a big difference.

“People don’t understand the magnitude of difference one small change can make,” said Amy Mahler, Director of Operations for Greeks Going Green.

Nationwide, Starbucks’ reusable cup rate is only about 1.8 percent. The company is aiming to reach a 5 percent reusable cup rate. However, the UF campus currently has a reusable cup rate of about 3.2 percent, Vitt said.

At UF, the Starbucks in Library West is the location that will participate in the Kill the Cup Challenge. Each time a student brings in the reusable cup, he or she will get 25-cents off of the beverage.

Student organizations such as Gators Going Green and Greeks Going Green are spearheading this initiative, aiming to spread awareness and knowledge.

“We really want to not only get people recycling, but also to use more sustainable resources daily,” Mahler said.

Dakota Woll, Executive Director for the Student Government Association, Greeks Going Green, explained that the goal is to simply get students involved by reducing the amount of cups used.

“Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the world today and initiatives like this can help make both a tangible and everlasting impact on the University of Florida campus,” Woll said.

This campaign is an excellent way to get involved on campus by doing something as simple as bringing your own reusable coffee cup with you.

Vitt encouraged students to get involved in something that they are passionate about and make the most of whatever that may be.

“Find something in your time here that really turns the light bulb on for you,” Vitt said.

Cover Image Credit: www.killthecup.org

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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'Dear Young People: Don't Vote' Ad Hits Too Close To Home

This reflects on a question that lies at the heart of democracy.

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This ad interrupted a youtube video I was watching, and instead of being upset, I immediately tried to figure out how to share it with everyone I know. Although it initially made me chuckle at the genius of it, I came to really ponder the message behind it. My pondering transported me back to a time when I was just starting to understand what the concept of politics encompassed, and what any of it means.

When I was in the eighth grade, I was a part of a club called "Young Democrats". I didn't know much about politics at the time, but my friends were in charge of the club so you best believe I was there before school every month, trying to be invisible and pretending to follow what they were saying. Although I didn't stay in the group for long-- I realized that I valued sleep more than doing the work of googling furiously at 7:30 am-- I stayed long enough to hear something that has stuck with me my entire life.

One morning, our club sponsor was away-- we were all sure she was a US spy-- so the Young Republican club sponsor let us hold the meeting in her classroom. Somehow, it was revealed that she was actually Republican, which my cheeky 12 year old friends figured was the perfect time to debate with her about her morals as a human being. I, of course, was silent. After going back and forth with them for a few minutes, she finally reached the end of her patience, opting out of the discussion with "I'm not going to debate with you children about my personal politics. Just know, that I was a Democrat too when I was young and naive. But I became a Republican when I grew up and realized how the world works."

As you can imagine, our young minds were reeling, stuck in between the shock of knowledge that people change their political affiliation, the question of how exactly the world works, and the fact that she slyly roasted all of us in one swoop. After a few silent moments, our president finally erupted with the question of the hour: "What does that even mean? The world works how you make it work, that's what politics is about. Making the world work how you want." I still don't know whether his response further supported her claims by showing how naive we were nor if it was a valid criticism of a defeatist mindset.

That moment has stuck with me my entire life as I've studied 'how the world works' in college, pondered the question with every election, and tried to figure out what my answer to the President's question would be. I've seen former democrats become rich and suddenly don the republican red. I've watched minorities acknowledge that they disagree with all of Trumps social positions, yet still wear the 'Make America Great Again' hat because "its about my money at the end of the day." I've studied the cycle of liberalism and conservatism in America. I have yet to define myself along party lines, though I wouldn't say I've remained 'apolitical', as my sociology teacher (Shoutout Dr. Shannon) made a great point when he pointed out that, as a lower class black female, my entire existence is political.

As I sit at school and read headlines about Trump, every day I wonder if this is what she meant when she said that this is the way the world works; that in our capitalist driven global economy, the rich hold an increasing amount of power and it is in every adult's best interest to align themselves with them. Or if maybe Trump has destabilized her belief in what she thought she knew about political organization; maybe Trump has actually informed the 'liberal' masses that its time they make the world work how they want. Or maybe, its just an anomaly in the established system and his term will come and go and the rich will continue getting richer.

As the time to vote rapidly approaches, I ask you to ponder whether you want to be compliant with 'the way things work' or if you wish to help define the way things work. Even further, I ask you to question your concept of democracy and what it means if where we are and where we are headed is exactly the way American democracy was designed to work. And if so, what does 'voting' and 'compliance' mean then?

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