For the 2018 Presidential Grant it would be not only aesthetically beautiful for the members of our college community, but incredibly sustainable for Union to plant a milkweed garden in front of Schaffer library (rather than the present lack luster shrubbery). Now you might be asking–why milkweed? What’s so cool about milkweed? Can this plant produce both milk AND weed? Well no, BUT milkweed is the sole plant monarch caterpillars are able to eat and the only plant monarch butterflies lay their eggs in. The monarch population since the mid 1990s has been invariably decreasing and this is directly due to the deforestation of the milkweed plant.
In a recent U.S. Geological survey they have found that we will need to plant an additional 1.8 billion milkweed stems in North America in hopes of restoring the monarch community to what it once was. This is an especially important mission for those who live in the United States because the monarch butterfly is our national butterfly(; although, this job should not be the sole burden of the United States and the monarch butterfly should not be the only insect we work to repopulate because of its’ national status). This planting would be relatively inexpensive (6 milkweed seed packets for only $18 on amazon with that student prime!), extremely impactful to the monarch population, and beautify our campus further. For more information on the falling monarch population in North America click on the graph below:
The use of plastic water bottles can be harmful to the environment specially when not recycled properly. A proposal that I have in mind to eliminate the consumption of plastic water bottles, is to install a water fountain in every house. This may seem like a difficult challenge or expensive but in the long run of our community, it would benefit everyone greatly. The new water fountains would help students spend less money on water, while eliminate the use of plastics water bottles. The water fountains would also provide students with the access to clean drinkable water within their own house, without having to struggle.
I think one area of campus where I see a lot of waste and not a lot of sustainability is the bookstore. On campus, the bookstore gives away a massive quantity of plastic bags, which are often discarded quickly after use. This practice is extremely not sustainable, and contributes to a lot of pollution. As we have seen in math of sustainability, using an excess of plastic is incredibly harmful to our environment–this includes our oceans, our groundwater, our wildlife, as well as many other aspects of life. Another issue with this practice is that there doesn’t seem to be a good way to recycle these plastic bags on campus; I often see them being placed in trash bins. As a green proposal, I think that Union would be wise in starting an initiative to give students reusable bags, and to encourage students to use these by charging a small fee for the plastic bags, similar to how some grocery stores do.