Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Move-in 2012: Stevenson College

Welcome, freshmen! By now, you should start to be feeling settled and comfortable with your new living situation and are beginning to settle into classes. You probably unpacked all of the things you brought, and maybe you realized that you brought too much. Either way, you're happy to be in your new forest home, and you're starting to get used to the deer.

One thing you likely packed--and if you're a Stevenson College student you definitely have--is a hand towel to use in the restroom. They're small, square, and often found in bathrooms in homes in the "real world," so why wouldn't you use one in your bathroom at school? Probably because there are paper towel dispensers in every restroom, right? Not if you're a Stevenson College student!
Stevenson college freshmen on move-in day with their new reusable hand towels.
How do they survive without paper towels, you ask? Well, like we just mentioned, most homes do not stock their restrooms with paper towels. That costs a lot of money and it's also incredibly wasteful. At UC Santa Cruz, for example, paper towel waste makes up 1/3 of the total campus waste that goes to landfill by volume!

Fortunately, this issue is easily remedied and doesn't require that much of a lifestyle change: Most people use hand towels to dry their hands in the restroom at home anyway, and Stevenson College thinks this makes sense, too. Every Stevenson College student living in the dorms and apartments this year received a Stevenson College hand towel, made by PeopleTowels. We went to the Stevenson College move-in on September 20 to photograph students with their new hand towels and observe cardboard recycling efforts. See the Facebook album here, and if you see people you know, tag them!

Stevenson Sustainability House RAs Chris and Cameron goofing around in the cardboard corral with apartment RA Ale.

Cardboard Cowboy Ale with some Stevenson freshmen outside the Sustainability House.

Thumbs up to recycling, says Cameron, Stevenson Sustainability House RA.

Internship Coordinator Shauna Casey and Sustainability House RA Cameron toss cardboard recycling into the recycling truck. Last year, UCSC staff and students started off the school year by recycling a whopping 38,840 pounds of cardboard (read more here).

RA Ale getting stoked about recycling cardboard.

A Stevenson College freshman with his cardboard recycling after moving into his new dorm.

Freshmen in the Stevenson Sustainability House carry their cardboard recycling out to the cardboard corral.

Stevenson College freshmen with their new hand towels.

Apartment RA Jisu with the cardboard recycling corral in lower quad.

Stevenson College freshmen with their hand towels on move-in day.
More on the hand towel project
So here's the back story: Last year, some students at Stevenson College in Path to a Greener Stevenson began working with students on the Sustainability Office's Zero Waste Team to create a pilot project to remove paper towels from the dorms. Our office profiled one of the students behind the project, Aidan Ward, in our May 2012 newsletter, which you can read here. Now, none of the Stevenson dorms have paper towels (except a small stash by the water fountains for emergency spills), and students are expected to use their hand towels. In the coming weeks, we will be interviewing students about how it's going. If this year's pilot project goes well, the eventual goal is to make all of the dorms at UC Santa Cruz paper towel-free!

Need another reason besides the waste issue to make you convinced that hand towels are the way to go? Do you enjoy learning about other cultures and practicing customs from other places? You should totally check out this article about how people in Japan don't use disposable paper products like napkins and towels. They use towels just like the ones Stevenson students received. PeopleTowels was actually created after its founder was inspired by this Japanese custom. You can learn more about it by watching this video:

How was your move-in experience this year? How have you been trying to live a little greener in your dorm, apartment, or house this year?

1 comment:

Zumi said...

This is a very ideal sustainability works. I like it and I find it helpful. You did a good job guys! :) Thanks.