Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

The Blue & Gray Press | August 22, 2019

Scroll to top


Letter to the Editor: Environmental effects of to-go boxes outweigh inconvenience of taking food on the run

To the Editor:

As an officer of the Ecology Club, I was given the invitation to attend the most recent SGA Cabinet meeting to shed light on the use of plastic to-go boxes at WOW Wingery. There is currently a Senate motion going through the Executive Cabinet to remove the to-go boxes that have briefly reentered WOW. I have looked, several times, into the disposable options offered by our University and have a wide array of knowledge regarding the to-go options that we, as a university, have available to us.

Walking away from the meeting, I was shocked by the entitlement felt by a small sect of students. To shed some light on the issue, for every 1 kg of plastic, 6 kg of CO2 is created. Therefore, in viewing our current to-go boxes, which weigh approximately 0.035 kg, each box produces 0.21 kg of CO2. With these numbers, if every student got one to-go box per week we would produce over 1,850 pounds of CO2 per week.

Also, in 2009 our University committed to sustainability policies and procedures which outlined policy that disposable food containers should be avoided at the greatest extent possible. I think the opinion of those opposing this motion was effectively summed up by the former SGA President Jeremy Thompson when he said, “The benefits you have presented are wonderful and I share them, but at what cost? I am not willing to sacrifice to go boxes to lower my carbon footprint because I don’t have to make that choice.”

At what cost? The current cost to students is five minutes of time eating their food inside, or choosing a sandwich already packaged rather than chicken. However, the overall cost would include ignoring our university’s values and increasing our waste stream, while contributing to a process of which the consequences far outweigh our five minutes spent eating chicken.

According to the students I was in a passionate discussion with on Monday, these costs do not outweigh the inconvenience incurred to the student by not being able to take their food to go. The inconvenience of not being able to use a box that has been provided to us for about a week and possibly eating lukewarm food is seen as a greater cost than the destruction caused by the production of these boxes and the disregard of our community values.

As an active student body with a commitment to service, I am astounded that our contribution to environmental degradation is seen as a smaller cost than eating cold chicken; that our commitments to reduce our impact as a university is of smaller importance than our inconvenience of toting food in an open container. I think the costs are clear. For a wasteful process to continue under the name of student convenience certainly seems entitled when the motion asks for a simple sacrifice that in turn has a significant impact on our community.

Samantha Corron is a senior.


  1. Former GAS (Going Against Sensibility) President

    My name is Jeremy Tomspoon, and I approve this message.

  2. Tempest

    The inconvenience might not be that big of a deal to you guys, but as evidenced by previous complaints, the student body would respond negatively. The SGA encourages the ecology club to author a plan in which there is a transition from the current boxes to the greener boxes.

    It’s nothing personal.

  3. Claire Pickard

    I’m a member of the SGA Executive Cabinet, and I was in that meeting. The other members were undecided about the motion because you didn’t present us with a clear plan. The motion in question was worded very poorly, and we agreed nearly unanimously that it would be passed if the Senate sent it back with a more concrete proposal that we could actually send to the administration. Please don’t intentionally misrepresent the views of an entire room of people to further your ideology.

  4. Dumb

    Considering SGA failed to produce a saferides program, and actually did not start the rideshare network, the only positive thing SGA has done this year for the environment is go paperless in the application process (a total of 20 pieces of paper).


  5. Liz Brennan

    I’m a member of the former cabinet, and I’m embarrassed by the way this was treated on Monday night, and by the lack of respect shown for Eco Club’s initiative. I would pass this even if there was a plan to continue without a to-go method at all. We have been operating on a bag system since December and it took four months for a few students to notice and call for the boxes back 2 weeks ago. So Tempest, I respectfully disagree – the student body would’ve remained indifferent.

    Also, SGA has a commitment to represent every student interest. Why are the, by my count, 12 students who are unable to figure out a way to get their food across campus more of a priority than the 50+ students concerned for the environment? Why are the 1200+ students who committed to the Do One Thing campaign this fall – which is a promise to make a small change for a more sustainable campus – not being accounted for? This is a case of the silent majority. The 12 students complaining to get them a box is going to be louder than 1000 kids not voicing their indifference.

    Our answer is laid out clear for us. President Hurley committed to sustainable efforts when he was sworn into office in 2009. Topic 1 Point 4 in the Sustainability Policy and Procedures he signed states, “when meals are served, disposable materials should be avoided to the greatest extent possible,” and in Topic 2 Point 16 states “Items requiring the least amount of packaging should be purchased when available. Every effort should be made to prevent excess or unneeded materials from being purchased.”

    Furthermore, we don’t need a clear plan. Senate motions never come with a clear plan – they’re suggestions, not law, and passed through to say SGA supports this idea. Once an idea gets support, the administration, appropriate Senate committee, or outside students take it from there. And the plan is already established – bag and boat, the more sustainable method, until the ecology club gets us closer to the next step. Why are we going to continue negatively impacting the environment while we wait for another box?

    Being a student at UMW means being committed to our community values. To contradict our values for the sake of convenience or personal preference is indeed embarrassing. And to the students saying you support sustainability but cannot support this motion, please stop. Committing to sustainability means committing to making personal sacrifices for the sake of the environment – it means going without, using less resources, and changing your lifestyle regardless of economic or convenience costs.

    It does not mean using a plastic box to carry fried chicken through campus, with the intent to utilize a greener box option if the ecology club presents us with a flawless plan in the future. That’s called being spoiled and lazy.


    Liz Brennan is usually right about a lot of things, but she’s never been more right then in this moment. Excellent comment!

  7. Eliza

    Insulting the people who would disagree by calling them “spoiled and lazy” is unprofessional and disrespectful. Senate motions that get actually get executed have a plan. Your plan did not. It left the school at a mystery as to what to do after abolishing the current boxes.

    Do us a favor and please do not insult and condescend to the student body and cook up tabloid smear pieces as this one. If you wish to get this passed, then think up a transition plan and tell us what boxes to use. It will get passed, and I guarantee it.


    Please do not fraudulently act as another individual in response to your own post in support of it.

  9. Andrew Hogan

    Lol please don’t make false accusations. I made ^^ comment! 🙂 Liz, get it gurl.

  10. Former GAS (Going Against Sensibility) President

    Ok, Real Jeremy. I bet you call them togo boxes, too.

  11. Former GAS (Going Against Sensibility) President

    This girl is no girl.

  12. Lovefool

    That’s not your mother; it’s a MAN, baby!

  13. Former GAS (Going Against Sensibility) President

    I was there, and I believe the motion was worded finely. It would not be unanimous if there were people who wanted it passed as is, and the fact that one of the voting members had to leave allowed the opposition to have a free-for-all in trying to try a filibuster, until the motion was tabled because of the time it took.

    Please don’t talk down to people in this bullshit, higher-than-thou manner if you’re going to be representing students as a new member of SGA. You’ll end up misrepresenting them like some former members.

  14. Former GAS (Going Against Sensibility) President

    And yes, I did say trying to try. Get on my level.

    #Yolo #Swag #Kony2013

  15. Claire Pickard

    It’s really easy to trash talk exec cab when you’re anonymous.

  16. Correct! But at such a small school where the students coming into power are so sheltered, this is the easiest way to get your points across without being talked about by cliques behind your back. The drama-trains at this school are atrocious.

    And it’s probably easier to trash talk a student who shares a legitimate concern by being in a position of power. My bad.

  17. Thats not a man, it’s a BABY, mother!

  18. omg

    omfg u guise, it’s DRAMA TRAINS. and CLIQUES. srs bsns.

  19. Will Bailey

    I don’t see why this has become a personal fight, why you would call students who want the boxes lazy or why we would not expect our senate to write motions that are specific and achieve a cause. If you really believe Liz Brennan that the student senate should only send suggestions, then what is the point of student government? It seems to me that any student can make a “suggestion” and the admin listen. Try telling the BOV that removing the banners was just a “suggestion” and not the voice of the student body. Tell them that having students on the UMWCuts committee was a “suggestion” and see what they say. You sound wrong on this, especially after you yourself say it’s okay for black students to discriminate against whites. THAT’S contrary to our non discrimination policy. As a student I do not like being called spoiled or lazy. Heck I was chatting up students today and all of us agreed that the Bag Boat option was the dumbest thing we had ever heard. Did you know it takes plastic bags about 45- 1000 years to break down in nature, and are less likely to be recycled where as the boxes that were given out last year were cardboard and could be recycled??? Sounds like you guys are just looking for things to complain about as opposed to listening to what students want. Jeremy, Sean and a few other people actually spoke to me about my opinions and you haven’t done that. Let’s all try and chill out and realize that this isn’t personal.

  20. It is apparently the only thing that matters to the people here. Why else do you think this school is a joke now?

  21. This and the other post seems to be directly attacking Liz, personally in your other comment, which is what you’re against at the end…I think? For that, I’m not sure whether to commend you for being that dumb, or to write a full onslaught of exactly what you sound like, what your writing and grammar makes you look like, and who you make look bad by speaking in this manner (hint hint, it’s who you’re defending and the rest of the student body).

    PS: I too am not Liz. I’m a student. I’m one of the few that gives a fuck about what you entitled assholes think you can get away with putting on your future resumes. Also, use the word Hell, don’t capitalize words to show emphasis because you sound like a tool, and use paragraphs when possible or a Tl;Dr because I had to force myself to read your block of useless information.

  22. Also, you forgot to mention the amount of carbon produced when making the items. You’re ALSO (see what I did here? I’m making fun of you by capitalizing this when it looks childish and unnecessary) calling in personal integrity, which is bold to do when you’re also commenting on the former SGA president. Who might be yourself, seeing as you write exactly like him or one of his lackeys.

  23. I’m just commenting here now so that my name appears all over the recent comments box on the side.

  24. Chapman

    Wow all this over togo boxes…

  25. Dumb

    Pretty dumb right?

  26. Former GAS (Going Against Sensibility) President

    Okay, Mr. Former President. Sorry that you think it’s dumb, so therefore it doesn’t matter. Forget the environment or anyone else.

  27. lel

    You think you’re so fucking clever, don’t you.

  28. lel

    If you think it’s such a joke why don’t you leave instead of ragging on everyone else and going on sociopathic rant obsessing over Jeremy Thompson

  29. Chapman

    I think that the former president should just learn how to recycle.