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Illustration by Susanne Niemann

No Waste November Begins on Campus

Ecoherence promotes “No Waste November” through a series of sustainability workshops spread throughout the month of November.

Nov 3, 2019

On Nov. 1, Ecoherence, the Student Interest Group dedicated to promoting more sustainable practices on campus, began its annual monthlong initiative: No Waste November. Elza Meiksane, Class of 2022 and co-president of Ecoherence, describes the vision behind the initiative, “In general, No Waste November is a month … where we really focus on pushing for sustainability in a more concentrated way, because when you have one event here and there, it can kind of get lost with everything that’s happening at NYU Abu Dhabi, but if we sort of label it underneath a month dedicated to sustainability, it [will be] more impactful.”
Throughout the month of November, Ecoherence will be hosting events to promote sustainability in ways that actively engage the NYUAD community. Every Friday, there will be sustainable self-care workshops where students will be able to create their own self-care products, such as face masks and body scrubs, using sustainable methods.
“It's not necessarily just about waste, I think it's more than that. So, each week ... we have an initiative that we’re carrying through, ... and on the weekends, we have additional things. So, during the first week, we’ve been collecting pledges in D2, where people pledge for the month of November to carry through with a sustainable habit, whether that is taking the stairs, going vegetarian [or] printing less,” Meiksane said regarding her expectations of the month. In the following weeks, there will be a week focused on recycling, a week for the plastic pouch project where students can volunteer to carry the single use plastic they use around with them in a pouch and “Veg and Pledge,” where students can pledge to go vegetarian or vegan for a week.
An initiative that has been featured during previous iterations of No Waste November that will not be carried out this year is the concept of “Meatless Mondays”.
Larger conversations have taken place among the student body about how the campus community could change the ways in which sustainable measures are being introduced and implemented.
Some students, such as Nicholas Patas, Class of 2021, offered resistance to a proposed suggestion to limit the amount of meat offered in the Dining Hall on Mondays in November. While he respects the idea of Meatless Mondays, Patas offers his concern over its actualization.
“You should deal with your food in any way you want. This is the way to go about respecting everybody’s rights to living their life how they want to,” he said.
Patas also voiced his criticism about Ecoherence’s methodology.
“A lot of times, I feel a bit attacked by how Ecoherence is trying to promote certain things. For example, what they did in D2: The Die in. I don’t find it constructive,” he added, “I find it repressive, or offensive. That’s why I’m saying this is not constructive: you will not make me understand that I need to reduce my meat consumption in that way; we need to be more strategic in how to inform people on this.”
Meiksane responds to this way of thinking, offering an explanation for why she has advocated for events such as Meatless Mondays.
“We can't have two percent [of the student body] doing sustainability perfectly and then having the rest just not care. I think more and more, we’re realizing that everyone has to take a little bit of a step [toward sustainability]. I think people get caught up in this idea that if I were to get involved in sustainability, ... my life would be consumed with sustainability, but they forget that even doing one thing, even avoiding meat for lunch … that’s already so much better than doing nothing,” said Meiksane.
Even just by proposing Meatless Mondays, Ecoherence has succeeded in initiating a conversation about the various ways in which our campus community can adopt more sustainable practices.
Matthew Gubbins is Deputy News Editor. Email him at
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