Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
By Daisy Strudwick
Milly West, an English professor at OleMiss, has been “green” since 1992.
“It’s just all the life is about right now,” said West. “For people who don’t think that’s the most important thing right now are just not aware of what’s at stake. It’s important because it’s our responsibility to the planet.”
West has been teaching a class called Generation Green this spring with a focus on environmental issues. During the Ole Miss Green Week, the class sold reusable water bottles to students in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
“We’re hoping that by giving everybody really cool bottles to carry around, like this really cool one that says ‘Hotty Toddy’,” said West, “that they will use them with pride and know that every time they use it they are keeping a plastic bottle out of a landfill.”
Green Week took place April 22-26 at Ole Miss and was focused on trying to raise awareness on campus about environmental issues. The week-long series of events was open to the whole Oxford community and included lectures about sustainability, environmental fairs, yoga workshops and celebrations in the Grove.
While “going green” has been a popular trend over the last few years, sophomore Lydia Makepeace says some of her peers don’t seem to care about the environment.
“It really frustrates me because I constantly see people blatantly harming the environment by littering or using plastic water bottles just because they want to make an ignorant statement,” said Makepeace.
She also worries that environmentalism has become too political.
“So many kids that I know associate going green with evil liberals and that is just not true. This is our planet and we only get one, and if they want to destroy it for themselves and their future families, then they can keep on living their destructive lives, but I want to make a difference and change what the world will be like for future generations.”
Getting the word out about Green Week was another challenge for organizers. They posted fliers and sent out emails reminding students to come to events, but some students had no idea that Green Week was going on.
“One of my teachers mentioned it in class, but I wasn’t really aware that it was like a big deal,” said sophomore Holly Gordon. “Honestly, if my teacher hadn’t said anything then I wouldn’t have known.”’
Organizers maintain Green Week was a success.
“Green Week happens to fall at a time of year when students are swamped with work, so it was hard to get students overly involved and aware,” said Rob Barber, an Associated Student Body senator. “Despite the setbacks, the purpose Green Week was to teach students about their impact, and if we only impacted a small group, then we can chalk that up as a success.”
Even though it was difficult to find students with $10 to spare on the spot, West and her Generation Green class hope the water bottles did help educate people at the university.
“There’s not an overall campus program to teach students about what needs to be done,” said West. “I believe that if students as freshmen were told how valuable our resources are and that their job as Ole Miss students is to conserve them, then they would step up and do it.”