Occidental’s new Green Bean Coffee Lounge is undoubtedly a much-needed addition to campus. However, it reflects two of the college’s glaring issues: lack of art and poor sustainability on campus. The Green Bean’s bare beige walls give it a sterile, Starbucks-y feel, completely belying the individuality of Oxy’s students. Showcasing student art would greatly enliven the space and expose students to the tangible creativity of their peers. Even painting the walls a sunny yellow or a light green would be a positive step.
Beyond aesthetics, the Green Bean’s execution as a coffee shop doesn’t indicate a commitment to sustainability. Only having a “to go” option for drinks seems ridiculous considering that the space is conducive to studying and relaxing. Supplying mugs or offering incentives for students to bring in their own cups would significantly reduce unnecessary waste.
Also, are the “compostable” cups offered really composted? It would appear that they’re simply thrown into the trash along with the wasteful paper cups and plastic “to go” containers from the Marketplace. These items are then sent to the landfill, where a lack of water and oxygen renders the “compostable” cups no more sustainable than regular paper cups. Oxy should look to Scripps College’s Motley Coffeehouse, where a sustainable “to go” cup carries a $1.00 surcharge, for eco-conscious ideas.
If Oxy wants to improve their measly “C-” grade on Sustainability from the Green Report Card organization, students and administrators need to show serious commitment to becoming a more progressive campus. A newly instituted, highly frequented coffee shop with “green” in the name seems like an ideal place to start.
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