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Zero Waste Festival organized to promote environmental practices on campus

BU student groups, private vendors table in Peace Quad to demonstrate individual sustainability practices

On Friday, the Office of Recycling and Resource Management held a Zero Waste Festival on BU’s Peace Quad.

Students buy baked goods from Sweet Sam’s Baking Company, originating from the Bronx area of New York City. The bakery was part of Zero Waste Festival, held by the Office of Recycling and Resource Management on Binghamton University’s Peace Quad on Friday.

Organizers of the eighth annual event encouraged students to practice zero waste habits, such as properly recycling and composting waste.

Nina Abrahams, a sophomore majoring in human development, was in charge of the table from the art department. Her Sculpture I class devoted most of the semester to making a big project entitled “Tree Formation,” exhibited in the Fine Arts Building.

“We as a class thought of different ideas to make this possible,” Abrahams said. “[The idea was] to recycle, and to realize how much cardboard we actually use and we waste in general.”

Representatives from student groups such as Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions (I.D.E.A.S.), New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and the Food Co-op, as well as different vendors that partner with Sodexo, tabled along the Spine.

Representatives from vendors like Chobani and Cold Stone Creamery, as well as an exhibition from the Sculpture I class, were also in attendance. The vendors offered free samples of local and sustainable food and beverages, demonstrating to students the various ways in which they practice sustainability.

According to Martin Larocca, the resource recovery manager for the Office of Recycling and Resource Management, the purpose of the event was to inform the student body about minimizing waste and recycling on campus.

“Our main goal is to educate as much as possible,” Larocca said. “Let people know what’s going on, there are different groups that they can get involved in, and that they understand how to recycle and compost on campus.”

President Harvey Stenger attended the event, and said he thought events like this are a great way to get the student body to learn about an environment with which they may not be familiar.

“Education, it’s what the University is here for,” Stenger said. “These are the kind of things that make Binghamton a great university, having this kind of self-driven group of students come out here and start this.”

For Justin Petragnani, a freshman majoring in management, events like this are essential to get students involved with the environment.

“I think it’s very important,” Petragnani said. “Living as a college student, the amount of trash that we go through in a week is kind of gross, and to have people that are aware and want to make a difference is awesome.”

Alexandra Lubman graduated from BU last semester, and is now working with Southern Tier Solar Works, a local solar power company. She came to campus to attend Earth Day, which she said had higher attendance and more exhibitions than years before. However, she shared the concern of other students at the event that it wasn’t promoted as well as it should have been.

“I think the people who want to know about this do,” Lubman said. “And otherwise I’m not so sure how well it was marketed.”

Dan Purdy represented Purdy and Sons at the Earth Day event. Purdy and Sons is a federally inspected, third-party food services company that provides food services for colleges in the area. They try to get dining services at colleges to serve more local food.

“Local sustainable doesn’t happen because you believe in local sustainable,” Purdy said. “You’ve go to make it happen. It’s effort.”