Student campaign pushes to eliminate single-use plastic bottles on campus

It’s a new day, but you should be using the same reusable bottle.

That’s the message of a new campus-wide student initiative to eliminate single-use plastic bottles at Northeastern and further the university’s efforts to sustain the health of the environment.

Alec Stransky, SSH’18, created the “NU Day, Same Bottle” campaign, which asks members of the entire university community to pledge to reduce their use of single-use plastic bottles. Another campaign goal is to eliminate the offering of drinks in plastic bottles at student-organized events.

Stransky is working in collaboration with Northeastern’s Student Government Association and the Husky Environmental Action Team. He has also received support from international non-profit organizations including Bureo Skateboards.

“I’m just generally disheartened by being a bystander and seeing society knowingly destroy itself,” said Stransky. “I want this campaign to make a change at Northeastern and provide an opportunity for the community to be exposed to the full environmental impacts of such a simplistic product.”

I understand people won’t avoid using plastic bottles entirely, but they don’t have to go through five in one day.”

One of the first Northeastern student groups to sign on to Stransky’s campaign was the Peer Health Exchange at Northeastern, which works to give teenagers the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions.

“Our volunteers are socially aware, conscientious of their environment, and value change that positively impacts our community,” Northeastern PHE co-coordinators Aaron Yagoda and Candice Quarella, both BHS’16, said in an email. “To no surprise, our chapter will support this initiative wholeheartedly. Making this pledge is an easy way to reduce our carbon footprint and lead by example. We encourage all student groups on campus to do the same.”

Stransky got the idea for “NU Day, Same Bottle” while planning an event for Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and deciding it wouldn’t offer drinks that come in plastic bottles. Stransky said he felt he could grow this into a campus-wide initiative because using fewer plastic bottles is simple to do given the large amount of refill stations around campus.

“Every day you see people guzzle through multiple plastic bottles,” he said. “And I understand people won’t avoid using plastic bottles entirely, but they don’t have to go through five in one day.”

Stransky has penned pledges for both individuals and student groups to sign. He officially launched the campaign last month, and hopes to have at least 200 student groups sign the pledge by December.

“I want the Northeastern student body to be a leader not just in reducing plastic bottle use, but also in gaining a deeper understanding of product lifestyles,” Stransky noted. “This campaign will hopefully educate the community on how simple, unceremonious daily routines have a large impact on the environment and our own health.”