By Meagan Ramsay
Getting caught without a tray in the cafeteria is one time a student may actually want to get caught doing something.
“Getting Caught Trayless” is a semester-long initiative of Going Green, a campus club that educates students about the environment. It began in January to encourage students to stop using trays in the cafeteria and to spread awareness about what can be done to better the campus and the world.
Members of Going Green randomly approach students in Ludwig who appear to be trayless. Students are rewarded with gift cards, candy and reusable bags.
But the biggest prize for going trayless is knowing you are making a difference, according to Going Green co-president Jenny Schoenwetter.
“I feel it’s our job to take care of God’s world and to keep beautiful things beautiful,” she said. “Stewardship is very important to me.”
Schoenwetter pointed out that many students living in the Midwest do not understand the importance of green efforts.
“It doesn’t really hit home for us because we aren’t concerned or affected in the Midwest,” she said.
One problem not seen in this area is water conservation. Other parts of the United States, such as California, have conservation issues like many other countries around the world.
Schoenwetter said she understands why students continue to use trays as well as why students do not understand the issues at hand. Her reasoning: convenience.
“Sometimes I’ll be balancing three plates and a drink, hoping I don’t fall,” she said.
But she hopes to see everyone get on board with going trayless even while knowing that not everyone agrees.
By giving prizes to students without trays, it raises awareness of Going Green’s purpose. Winners will show their friends what they received for doing a good thing for the environment, and other students will want to get involved.
That is exactly what happened when freshman Lindsey Peterson was caught without a tray.
“I was excited and surprised. I was telling all my friends, ‘Look what I got for going trayless,’” she said.
To continue educating the student body about the environment, Schoenwetter wants to show the documentary “Carbon Nation” on campus. She says it is not just about the environment. It shows the relationship between the environment, politics, military and business.
“Getting Caught Trayless” is just the beginning of what Going Green wants to do for the campus.
“We’re making baby steps. That’s what it is; baby steps,” Schoenwetter said.