Ithaca College cares more about the appearance of sustainability than sustainability itself
There is no denying that it has become trendy, popular and stylish to put off an environmentalist vibe, especially in communities like Ithaca, where a strong portion of the affluent population is liberal and hopes to effect some positive change in the world.
The administration and student body of IC is very much a part of this section of society, and rest assured, it is better than blatant apathy. Students, workers and supportive faculty members were recently able to pressure Sodexo to provide a living wage to all full-time workers, showing it is a place in which students can make a change for the better through hard work and dedication. Still, the campus remains far from perfect.
The composting situation at the Pub in Campus Center is an example of a misguided attempt at branding the college as sustainable when simpler, more old-fashioned tactics would actually be more beneficial to the environment. Next time you’re there, take note of all the signs preaching information on how to know which garbage can to toss your waste into (we’ve all seen visiting families confused by this), pretty much patronizing people into realizing how much the administration cares about the environment.
The college prides itself on providing compostable plates and utensils at the Pub, which sounds fine, but the problem is the utensils take several months to even begin breaking down. Just because they aren’t plastic doesn’t mean they’re good for the environment, and other environmentally conscious schools, such as the University of Vermont, have shifted away from these utensils to utilize the usual metal cutlery and plastic plates that can be washed and reused for a number of years before they begin to deteriorate.
Buzzsaw simply proposes that the Pub begin offering the same reusable cutlery found in the dining halls for students eating meals within the Pub area. This would be far more effective than the current method of first trusting students, faculty and visitors to find the proper trash receptacle, then have the cutlery take up space in a compost heap for months on end. The college needs to remember the eco-friendly mantra Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle—reusing cutlery is far more sustainable than using it once, even if it is some fancy, barely compostable material. So IC administration, have some common sense and stop making everyone feel like they care less about the environment than you do. You’re just good at putting off the concept of caring about it.