Graphic by Jared Shapiro
Saturdays in downtown Lewisburg are one of the most notorious events of the week for many University students. After working hard comes playing harder: every Saturday, hundreds of students let loose by making their way downtown with their friends for a day dedicated to good tunes and free booze. The so-called “Darty Season” never ends in Lewisburg. Super Saturday is central to the party culture. But with an estimated 500+ college students in attendance each Saturday comes an enormous amount of trash. Does letting loose have to result in disregarding our social and environmental obligations?
After speaking to a fraternity representative, I learned that each organization who hosts a Super not only graciously supplies free beer, but also distributes around 2,000 to 3,000 plastics cups each Saturday to go along with it. With an average of three organizations hosting a Super per week, about 6,000 to 9,000 cups are trashed in one day. Let that sink in — that’s roughly 12 plastic cups per person at the minimum. Why should anyone need a new cup each time they have another drink?
So much waste is generated each day, that a group of students must dedicate the rest of their evening to cleaning up after all the party goers. Not only is a tremendous amount of plastic and time being thrown away, but also about $1350 per organization, per semester, solely from Saturdays.
Why are students who live in and love this community so mindless when it comes to trashing it? Where is the incentive to keep our home clean and save thousands of dollars a year on something as simple as plastic cups? It’s honestly quite embarrassing that we appear this lazy.
Seriously, think of everything you could do with all that saved money! You could fill 15 more kegs, add that money to scholarship, pay for recycling ($6 for once a month pick up, $8 for twice a month pickup by Fisher’s), buy super cool, reusable cups (seriously, everyone loves those Oktoberfest cups), donate more to charity, or do it all. The list is endless, the ignorance and embarrassment shouldn’t be.
Making Super Saturday sustainable isn’t a burden or an extra cost, it’s an opportunity to hold each other accountable for respecting the home that we live, learn, and party in, while also saving a big chunk of cash. Accountability is a way to say thank you to those who so generously provide the free beer by not trashing their property and imposing unnecessary costs on them. It seems like letting loose comes with a lot of disrespect when it shouldn’t have to.
What can you do about it? There are many simple solutions to this that would be easier to implement than the cleaning that already takes place after each Super. With just a little bit of thinking and collaboration, we can make a huge and important impact.
Start with something simple like one BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup) Super. It would raise awareness for change and responsibility. There’s absolutely no cost to it and so much to gain. We are talking about less waste, less cleanup time, and less money spent, with more awareness and more accountability.
Supplying a recycling bin in each yard is another simple fix, especially since there should be absolutely no confusion as to what belongs in that bin. As a house, you could buy into Fisher’s recycling for a small fee and have all that recycling taken away and reused.
Cutting costs from cups and adding a small portion of the savings to designing trendy, collectable, reusable cups, makes for cool memorabilia that brands your organization and its concern for this issue. Selling cups could even generate some revenue!
Super Saturdays create super trash and the only thing standing in the way of a cleaner, cheaper Saturday is an inefficient system that produces laziness and pollution. We are better than that!