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Student campaign pushes to eliminate single-use plastic bottles on campus

Photo of Alec Stransky

Alec Stransky, SSH'18, is the creator of the "NU Day, Same Bottle" campaign at Northeastern.

It’s a new day, but you should be using the same reusable bottle.

That’s the mes­sage of a new campus-​​wide stu­dent ini­tia­tive to elim­i­nate single-​​use plastic bot­tles at North­eastern and fur­ther the university’s efforts to sus­tain the health of the environment.

Alec Stransky, SSH’18, cre­ated the “NU Day, Same Bottle” cam­paign, which asks mem­bers of the entire uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity to pledge to reduce their use of single-​​use plastic bot­tles. Another cam­paign goal is to elim­i­nate the offering of drinks in plastic bot­tles at student-​​organized events.

Stransky is working in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Northeastern’s Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion and the Husky Envi­ron­mental Action Team. He has also received sup­port from inter­na­tional non-​​profit orga­ni­za­tions including Bureo Skate­boards.

I’m just gen­er­ally dis­heart­ened by being a bystander and seeing society know­ingly destroy itself,” said Stransky. “I want this cam­paign to make a change at North­eastern and pro­vide an oppor­tu­nity for the com­mu­nity to be exposed to the full envi­ron­mental impacts of such a sim­plistic product.”

I under­stand people won’t avoid using plastic bot­tles entirely, but they don’t have to go through five in one day.”

One of the first North­eastern stu­dent groups to sign on to Stransky’s cam­paign was the Peer Health Exchange at North­eastern, which works to give teenagers the knowl­edge and skills they need to make healthy decisions.

Our vol­un­teers are socially aware, con­sci­en­tious of their envi­ron­ment, and value change that pos­i­tively impacts our com­mu­nity,” North­eastern PHE co-​​coordinators Aaron Yagoda and Can­dice Quarella, both BHS’16, said in an email. “To no sur­prise, our chapter will sup­port this ini­tia­tive whole­heart­edly. Making this pledge is an easy way to reduce our carbon foot­print and lead by example. We encourage all stu­dent groups on campus to do the same.”

Stransky got the idea for “NU Day, Same Bottle” while plan­ning an event for Delta Tau Delta Fra­ter­nity and deciding it wouldn’t offer drinks that come in plastic bot­tles. Stransky said he felt he could grow this into a campus-​​wide ini­tia­tive because using fewer plastic bot­tles is simple to do given the large amount of refill sta­tions around campus.

Every day you see people guzzle through mul­tiple plastic bot­tles,” he said. “And I under­stand people won’t avoid using plastic bot­tles entirely, but they don’t have to go through five in one day.”

Stransky has penned pledges for both indi­vid­uals and stu­dent groups to sign. He offi­cially launched the cam­paign last month, and hopes to have at least 200 stu­dent groups sign the pledge by December.

I want the North­eastern stu­dent body to be a leader not just in reducing plastic bottle use, but also in gaining a deeper under­standing of product lifestyles,” Stransky noted. “This cam­paign will hope­fully edu­cate the com­mu­nity on how simple, uncer­e­mo­nious daily rou­tines have a large impact on the envi­ron­ment and our own health.”

-By Joe O’Connell

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