U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist to celebrate funds, learn about initiatives Monday
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Aug. 23, 2018) – As local businesses and institutions continue to ban plastic straws that pollute our waterways, Eckerd College is taking that sustainability effort one step further. With new funding from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program grant, the College will reduce single-use plastics campuswide—from plastic bottles to bags and ponchos. (Straws have already been eliminated.)
U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist (D, FL-13) will come to Eckerd’s campus at 12:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 27, to congratulate President Donald Eastman and meet the architects of one of the most innovative environmental projects in the country.
Awarded in early spring, the more than $115,000 matching grant gave Eckerd College the freedom to launch initiatives including providing reusable tumblers—perfect for daily iced coffees—to all first-year students and providing free umbrellas to all guests who tour the College on rainy days. The project is the brainchild of Associate Professor of Biology and Marine Science Shannon Gowans and Assistant Professor of Marine Science Amy Siuda.
Siuda came to Eckerd three years ago impressed with the College’s commitment for sustainability but aware there was more that could be done. “Students would say they were very environmentally conscious, but then I would see them walking by with a single-use plastic cup of iced coffee,” Siuda said.
Having banned plastic straws in spring 2018, Eckerd is the perfect breeding ground for this sort of change. Students regularly forgo purchasing bottled water in favor of filling their personal canteens at one of our 61 water-bottle refilling stations. The grant will fund not only reusable alternatives to single-use plastics but also three courses on the effects of marine debris on the world’s oceans, several beach and marine environment cleanups, and a scientific study of the behavior changes in the campus community over the grant period.
For more information on the grant and Rep. Crist’s visit, contact Robbyn Hopewell, Eckerd’s director of media and public relations, at 727.864.7978.