Only one small bag of trash was collected after nearly 500 UNM students, staff and faculty enjoyed a “minimal waste lunch” organized by faculty in the UNM Civil Engineering Department as a part of Engineering Week on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
No plates were used, but napkins were available. Faculty grilled hot dogs and vegetarian alternatives and gave out apples and cookies. Participants were handed re-usable water bottles instead of soda and encouraged to fill their bottles at nearby water fountains. A small bag of apple cores was collected for composting and the plastic and cardboard that was used will be recycled. There were educational posters about the typical waste generated by similar events and about the environmental concerns associated with bottled water.
“I didn’t hear any complaints about the lack of plates or sodas,” said event organizer and Civil Engineering Associate Professor Julie Coonrod. “I think everyone enjoyed the food being cooked and served by their professors. We’re hoping other organizations on campus will use this concept to reduce trash and practice sustainability.”
Other activities at the lunch included several tables for student organization displays and three contests: modify and throw a balsa wood airplane for accuracy and distance, create ad device to protect an egg dropped from varying heights, and build a Jenga tower of wooden blocks. Winners of the egg drop contest were Mike Sheyka, Sherif Aboubakr and Emmy Foley. The team of Scott Chapman, Bhanu Kiran Tuniki, and Anil Geeda won with a Jenga tower stacked 32 layers high. Each winner received a UNM Bookstore gift certificate.
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