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 Protecting our oceans, protecting our future: OCEANS club and the plastic water bottle ban

OCEANS at a beach cleanup. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Baker. Having grown up around the ocean, one of Kelsey Baker’s favorite activities is to surf. Passionate about marine conservation and protecting oceans, Kelsey, as a freshman at SCU, got the idea to start a club related to her interests at Santa Clara. She already had some experience with leading a club - in high school, Kelsey Baker, ‘14, was a leader of her school’s Save the Waves club.

Two years ago, Kelsey started OCEANS, a registered student organization, and it became a part of the community of sustainability-related clubs and organizations at SCU. Through OCEANS, Kelsey met Alex Cabral, ‘15, who joined OCEANS her freshman year. Alex grew up about five minutes away from the beach, and she enjoys swimming, surfing, and playing water polo. She thanks OCEANS and Santa Clara University for influencing her decision to minor in Environmental Studies because of what she has learned about the importance of sustainability and marine conservation.

Today, both Kelsey and Alex serve as the main leaders of the club; they have collaborated with other student organizations and leaders at Santa Clara and have volunteered with local nonprofit organizations like Save the Waves and the Surfrider Foundation to help with fundraisers and beach cleanups.

Kelsey is proud of OCEANS’ collaborative efforts both on and off campus, providing important connections to the nonprofit network of organizations focused on marine conservation.

Bottled Water Ban
This year, Kelsey came back from her study abroad experience in Costa Rica and met Ellen Yun, ‘15, the Sustainability Senator of the Associated Student Government (ASG) at a SCOOPS (Students Collaborating and Organization Opportunities and Projects for Sustainability) meeting, hosted by the Office of Sustainability.

Learning that Ellen had been working on continuing the efforts of ASG from previous years to ban bottled water on campus, the two partnered up to work with Dining Services to set up an action plan that would ban the selling of SCU-labeled plastic water bottles on campus.

OCEANS members at Mavericks. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Baker. The duo, with support from fellow student leaders and student organizations, garnered much student support, both online and in person, collecting over 700 signatures in support of the ban. Beginning next fall, SCU-labeled plastic water bottles will no longer be sold.

Still, Kelsey believes there is much work to be done. Bottled water will still be sold in The Cellar, in vending machines around campus, and might still be present at catered events, and Kelsey has plans to continue working to ban all plastic water bottles at SCU during her senior year.

Want to learn more about marine conservation? Kelsey recommends watching the documentary, The Cove, or following the organization Sea Shepherd, led by Paul Watson, also a founder of Greenpeace.

By Michelle Tang, '13 Sustainability Intern--Student Initiatives

Tags: Community Engagement, Liaison Network, Program Highlights, Student Life, Waste, Water



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