The Ban the Bottle initiative has been awarded a $2,000 grant in its efforts to make the Bethlehem campus more sustainable.
Honor society Phi Theta Kappa, or PTK, President Aaron Rosengarten, Social Media Officer Rachel Cimera and Treasurer Gabe Olah are raising the bar this year for the Bethlehem campus honor society.
Currently a three-star status group, PTK is striving to reach five-star status with this “Spirit of Exploration” topic. Inspired by the sustainability presentations performed by last years Leadership Program, PTK is pushing for a more eco-friendly environment for students.
Officers and members have been working to make their goal possible since last summer. Holding meetings while everyone else was on break enjoying their summer, their dedication has not quit.
Cimera, Education, explains why their plan is so important to them:
“We hope to educate the students about what plastic is, what it does and how it affects the environment. We want to make them more aware of this.”
They also want to educate students and make them more aware of the health dangers involved in the use of plastic bottles.
“Based on medical research we have concluded that, while water bottles are more convenient to the average student and person, they can cause detrimental effects to ones health. We have discovered that [water bottles] have a chemical called BPA. Most water bottles are not BPA free, and it is been proven that BPA can cause adverse affects, such as cancer. Most tap water has shown to be more healthy than bottled water,” Rosengarten, Political Science, explained.
“These [toxins] start to break down over time, and then they accumulate, causing health issues. Yes, water bottles are good for you, but the thing encasing it is not,” Cimera added.
They have also found that, “Over half of water bottle companies actually use tap water to put in a bottle and give it to you.”
On Nov 15 of last year PTK officers, along with 20+ helpers, designed a bottle display in the Laub Lounge. The display represented the goal of obtaining an eco-friendly environment through the hanging of empty plastic water bottles with fishing line.
“It was somewhat of a very involved process because we wanted to base the length of the strands on the average height of a person,” Olah, Mathematics, explained.
The display caught the eye of many, including President Mark Erickson, who described the design as, “Very well done” and that it “captures the message very well”.
Although many PTK members are involved in the “Ban the Bottle” project it was made clear that they are separate projects.
To help inspire the group, PTK visited local colleges to see what they are doing to be eco-friendly. With free water refill stations and reusable china, Muhlenberg College in Berks County is a 92 percent plastic free campus.
Once this initiative takes off PTK hopes to see a 50 percent reduction in three years and an 80 percent reduction in five years.
With the money provided through the grant, they hope to eventually bring water refill stations in the cafeteria and give out reusable water bottles to incoming freshmen at student orientations. The Ban the Bottle campaign and PTK plan to share the grant in its separate efforts.
With support from over 20 student organizations on campus, PTK continues to push forward in its efforts to create a more sustainable campus for students and staff.