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There’s People Doing What?!

February 26, 2024

Ana Karen Esparza Aguilar

Student, Major: Stage Manager-Theater Design & Technology

Class of 2024

I’m a Theater Design & Technology major, which makes me an outsider to the Environment Studies major and the world around it, but I care about sustainability and have always had thoughts on how the campus could do better. But I never knew who to tell, or where to go, or who to ask. Which is why I decided to apply for the Zero Waste internship and it has become one of my favorite things I’ve done at Purchase. I have attended meetings that are extremely interesting, being led by people who deeply care about our campus and sustainability. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that there are people who are actively doing work to make our campus more sustainable. Before, I didn’t think there was a group behind it all.

When I entered my freshman year in 2019, the dishwasher in the Dining Hall was fully functioning but was promptly shut down in the Spring when COVID hit. It has been so long since the dishwasher worked that I started to feel like I was the only person who remembered it. Because of it, I had given up on the idea that it would ever work again, I believed that no one was out there actively working on getting it back. I was proven wrong at the very first Sustainability Advisory and Outreach Committee (SAOC) meeting I attended.

Turns out there are other people who remember this magical machine that seemed so long forgotten. They have been inquiring about it for a couple years now and it has more recently, partially due to the student internships, become a top priority because of the amount of waste created by single-use items (plates, cutlery, etc.) in D-Hall. There are places like the Hub that have more of a take-out vibe and relies on disposables (and that is also something that we hope to change some day) but the dining hall on the other hand, is supposed to have more of a “home-cooked meal” vibe. It’s insane how students are supposed to eat their breakfast and dinner with disposable items day after day for years now. After all, students live on this campus for the majority of our year and we deserve to have just a little resemblance to a normal meal. We hope the dishwasher will come back in the fall.

Dishwasher at the Dining Hall The dishwasher has been shut down since Spring 2020.