Think Outside the Box

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By Maria Terry, Staff Writer

As of September 16th the great room enacted a reusable to-go box only system. For many reasons this is an excellent idea, and yet for others it is terribly irritating.

I would like to preface this miniature tirade by stating very openly that I am not anti-environmental in any way. I participate in rounds of weekly recycling with the five other girls that I live with, I stress the importance of turning of the lights when they leave a room to everyone. I turn off the faucet when I brush my teeth, and I smile begrudgingly at the squirrels on the path. I must admit that I am not always the first person to take a stance on an environmental issue, but I have friends that keep me in line and lovingly reprimand me when I throw a coke can into the black trash-can rather than the blue recycling one.

However, the motion of using all oyster boxes has particularly irked me since the beginning of this semester. Granted, it has only been a little over a month, but it has seemed to grind my gears enough for me to take time away from studying for midterms to type up an opinions article about it. Why you ask? Let me provide you with the two main complaints that I have heard in an opposition of the new eco-friendly system.

Common Complaint #1: “There are many flaws with the electronic system.” I have heard several people here and there complaining that even when they have returned their two allotted oyster boxes, the system does not register these returns, and therefore they cannot take a meal to-go that day. This is particularly irritating for people who speed walk from Waring Commons to the great room hoping to pick up dinner before a 6 o’clock class in Kent Hall. I may or may not be that person, but if this has happened to you then you understand what hunger and an evening class do to your mood halfway through the semester.

Common Complaint #2: “There is no alternative.” Alright we get it, you want to be eco-friendly. But what if someone else does not? It may be a wonderful thing that so many people care about the environment enough to make an issue out of Styrofoam boxes, but not everyone may feel that way. Why can’t we have both? Having a small stack of Styrofoam boxes is not going to hurt anything.

Once again it seems that a bigger philosophical question arises from such a menial aspect of daily dining. Much like the agonizing bloodshed over Meatless Mondays the disillusion of a “majority opinion” surfaces discontent among the student body. Sure, we may have a larger vegetarian population than other colleges in the area; and are we more eco-friendly than most? Of course we are. That’s been the M.O. of St. Mary’s since the 1960’s. However the question that I would pose to anyone taking time to read this is this: Is the elimination of the minority opinion truly an example of the democracy that we so often pride ourselves on at this school? I believe the answer to be no. Give me Styrofoam, or give me real hamburgers at the pub. You can’t have both St. Mary’s.

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