2014 Sparking Innovation

Greening campus

A roll of cookie dough is no more secure in a disposable bag than a backpack. And water is no cooler from a plastic bottle than a box.

Still, senior Jake Lyonfields knows it’s hard to change habits. But through education and outreach, he has convinced others to adopt greener practices.

tote green group photo

Tote Green champions junior Jennifer Chan, senior Jake Lyonfields,
junior Ryan Halvorsen, junior Orma Ravindranath and junior Nancy Yang

He, along with students Ryan Halvorsen, Jennifer Chan, Orma Ravindranath and Nancy Yang, founded Tote Green, the campaign to eliminate disposable plastic bags from campus stores. Bon Appetit’s Paws & Go and Millbrook Market joined the cause this year and now no longer bag groceries in plastic. The effort has been a success; Bon Appetit reports its total plastic bag usage has plummeted 90 percent.

Lyonfields, a BS candidate in systems engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, also worked with Student Union President Matthew Re to green WILD, a campus music festival. Volunteers now sort all trash at waste stations and organizers distribute boxed water and serve food on compostable plates. The result: WILD is now a zero-landfill event.

“It can be hard to talk about environmental sustainability because both the problems and the solutions can be so overwhelming,” Lyonfields said. “But we have been able to initiate change that pushes the bounds yet is realistic.”

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