LSU Student Government began distributing free metal straws to students at the beginning of the semester to lessen the use of plastic straws on campus.
SG Sen. Christina Georgacopoulos and Sydney McGovern co-authored a bill passed last March, which allocated $4,500 for the purchase of metal straws to be given to students “as an effective measure in promoting environmental awareness and sustainability.”
SG has given out a large number of the straws at various events throughout the semester and will also be giving them out at Fall Fest, on Oct. 11 on the Parade Ground. The straws are available at the Student Government Senate and Executive offices in the LSU Student Union.
Members of SG have also been personally giving them out to students in classes and around campus.
Construction management freshman Taylor Letourneau thought handing out metal straws is a good idea.
“That’s pretty cool,” Letourneau said. “Obviously the planet is in pretty bad shape right now with climate change, so any little bit that could help is obviously a good thing.”
Letourneau also appreciates that the straws are free, as most of the time students are more willing to listen to a message and actively participate if free things are involved.
The bill was written by Georgacopoulos and McGovern after a meeting with oceanography and coastal sciences graduate student Kerrin Toner. During the meeting, Toner discussed her concerns about the excessive use of plastic in the Student Union.
Over 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the U.S, most of which end up in the oceans, according to For a Strawless Ocean, a program advocating for the use of alternative straws. By using non-plastic straws, such as metal straws, Americans can reduce the number of straws that pollute the ocean and kill marine life.
Georgacoloulos, McGovern and Toner agreed metal straws would be one way to contribute to conservation efforts at the University. However, biology and psychology junior Kaylin Chauvin said she doesn’t think SG’s initiative will have much impact.
““I’m just being realistic," Chauvin said. "I think it’s good that they’re trying to do that, but I think there are better things they could do to improve the environment.”
Chauvin said on a past trip to the University of Colorado at Boulder, she learned the city of Boulder had composting bins in addition to recycling bins along sidewalks. Chauvin believes this would be a better use of the money because it would have a more significant impact.
McGovern believes the metal straws are making a difference, as she has noticed people using the metal straws in restaurants and around campus.
SG spent $3,750 on 2,000 metal straws, although the bill was allotted $4,500. The leftover money was put into budget.
McGovern added that all students should make sure to get a metal straw to do their part in preserving the environment.