W.I.L.D. to go landfill-free after Treasury vote
Both fall and spring W.I.L.D.s, as well as the remaining 21 Happy Hours of the school year, will be fully compostable and zero-landfill after Student Union Treasury awarded $8,200 to Social Programming Board.
The money offered to SPB to make its events compostable was extracted from the carryforward money that various student groups failed to spend during the last school year, an amount exceeding $300,000 . At the previous meeting, several SU executive board members suggested ideas about different expenditures to make using the carryforward money, and one who proposed creating a sustainability fund for student groups was voted down.
“Last week, we presented a plan for spending the carryforward money, and we planned on giving $6,000 of that money to SU programming as a sort of composting fund that any student group could use to make their events zero-landfill,” junior Nick Palermo, vice president of finance, said. “We talked about W.I.L.D. at the meeting, but it didn’t pass last week because there was some sentiment that some of the numbers weren’t exact enough and that we were writing a blank check.”
According to senior Jake Lyonfields, executive advisor of sustainability, following the meeting last week, a group of some SU executive, Treasury and SPB members met again in order to clarify details for how to use the allotted $6,000 and form a more concise proposal to present again at the next meeting. They created a spreadsheet that detailed how to make both W.I.L.D.s and the rest of the Happy Hours for the duration of the academic year zero-landfill based on use of compostable serviceware, green waste stations and totes for the stations.
The group determined within its proposal that it would take $4,800 for both W.I.L.D.s and $3,400 for the rest of the Happy Hours of the year to make them zero-landfill and presented this finding at the next meeting, where it passed with a vote of 10-2-2. Lyonfields believes that the two abstentions were due to the fact that the members were on SPB and therefore had a conflict of interest in voting.
“It’s a bit of an unprecedented move because SU hasn’t ever done something like this, and there might have been a little bit of concern from Treasury that it wasn’t within SU’s purview and we should be doing typical waste management, but it passed by an overwhelming amount,” Lyonfields said. “If you look at the dollar spent per student, it was a low-cost proposal.”
According to SPB President Emma Tyler, a junior, conversations about making W.I.L.D. more sustainable have been in the works for a while.
“I think it’s important for Social Programming Board to be sustainable because we are a high-profile group on campus and W.I.L.D. is one of the most visible events and through it sustainability is very visible and makes it a topic of conversation,” she said. “So many other large programming organizations on campus are making their large events sustainable, and so are major music festivals around the country, so we’re just following the trend of putting sustainability into people’s minds.”
With the new money allocated toward making the event sustainable, all of the food service materials at W.I.L.D. will be compostable, and all other items will be recyclable, causing none of the items on the quad to go to the landfill. The same policy will follow for Happy Hour events.
While previous W.I.L.D.s were able to produce a 77 percent diversion rate from landfill based on the number of waste stations they had, this year’s events will be able to produce a 100 percent landfill diversion rate with the addition of more compostable serviceware and green waste stations.
“W.I.L.D. is one of the last major events that happens on campus that still has a traditional trash component to it since most other ones have moved on to using fully compostable materials,” Palermo said. “The sentiment in Treasury was that in order to keep up with what’s going on on campus that this was something that was necessary. It’s unfortunate that it had to wait this long, but we’re happy to say that SU is now supporting this big initiative on campus.”