It’s not easy being green, but it should be.
Over the summer, AU became even more eco-friendly. Plastic bags were eliminated from Eagle’s Nest and the campus store. TDR boxes were exchanged for new reusable plastic boxes, which cost $5 to buy and replace.
For the school, these changes are impressive. For the students, they are inconvenient. If students need to get a few quick things from Eagle’s Nest, they need to either remember to bring a reusable bag or hike back to their dorm or off campus apartment to get one. Many students were seen struggling to carry textbooks across the Quad because they didn’t have a bag at hand. Also, students need to carry their plastic box all day if they plan on getting TDR to go, especially if they live off campus.
Students at AU are busy. We run from classes to internships to meetings. Many will not think to put their plastic box in their backpack before their morning class on the off-chance they want to get TDR later. Instead, students will end up repeatedly spending $5 on new plastic boxes.
The Eagle does not want to discourage new green initiatives. However, we think there is a better way of implementing them. Instead of burdening the student body, let students decide to save the environment. The goal should be to change student’s daily habits rather than force them to adopt new policies. Just because our mothers made us eat vegetables back home doesn’t mean we’re filling our reusable TDR boxes with broccoli.
AU needs to give students motivation for going green, and D.C. has already created a model to do that through a tax on plastic bags. An article in National Review notes that D.C. bag usage declined by 67 percent in the first year of the tax’s implementation.
This law encourages people to bring reusable bags, yet doesn’t take away the option of using a plastic bag. With incentives, students will want to go green. But fining students $5 for convenience is too high a price.
AU made the green honor roll this summer, which is something to applaud. However, those decisions were based on last year’s results. AU has already earned itself the title of an eco-friendly school without inconveniencing its students.
This change could gradually work. Initiatives have been taken to make this law more convenient for students, including giving out Whole Foods reusable bags at orientation. Canvas bags are now sold cheaply in the school store and The Eagle’s Nest. With these two options, and maybe more in the future, students could get used to these new rules. But AU decided to make abrupt changes that left students in the dark.
The Eagle predicts that this law will become nothing more than a hassle to students and possibly a waste of TDR plastic boxes as they are inevitably forgotten in residence halls.
Being green should be easier, not inconvenient.