Plans for a Plastic-Free SMC
Inside the Center for Environmental and Urban Studies (CEUS), 15 students from Plastic Free SMC and Eco Action wait for the semester’s second meeting to start. The room is small, and people are sitting in a circle, some on chairs and others, the floor. The walls are filled with posters containing slogans like "You Can Stop Fish From Disappearing", along with other environmental-friendly signs. Then, Plastic Free SMC’s President Bronwyn Hancock Major walks in the room. Wearing a black beanie and green pattern bomber jacket, she starts the meeting.
The two environmental clubs meet every Thursday at 11:15 a.m in CEUS to discuss and plan how to make Santa Monica College plastic-free and to better inform its students on environmental issues. The clubs focus on spreading awareness on the adverse effects of global warming and what can be done to combat it.
“Now more than ever, it’s super important that we take a more active role, and more forward presence on campus," Major said. “The more you know, the more you can do. And so I think that with that education and that knowledge and that wisdom, we can make better choices.”
During the meeting, they discussed and planned for the two major events happening this year -- Earth Week, starting April 17 to 25, and Sustainability Week, from Oct. 16 to 19. One big matter that they are working towards is getting rid of all plastic on campus.
“Plastic Free’s main objective is to minimize the use and consumption of single use plastics here on the campus of Santa Monica College, but also everywhere else in our daily life”, said Major.
One thing that the club has arranged already is a discount for every student who bring their own utensils when buying food from any of vendors in the cafeteria, similar to the discount when students bring their own coffee mug. They are also in the process of eliminating plastic straws and replacing them with paper ones. Major said, “We've had a huge sort of movement going to get plastic water bottles banned here on campus, we have been gathering signatures”.
As the even came to a close, Major emphasized that removing plastic straws would be a big step towards making SMC plastic-free. “I think it would be really powerful for Santa Monica College to be one of the first community college’s to ban plastic straws. I think that would get a lot of attention for our programs and maybe, you know, boost enrollment."