On Sunday September 30th, the Haverford College Student body convened at Plenary, a biannual tradition at the college during which students debate and subsequently vote on proposed resolutions. In an effort to reduce environmental and monetary costs at Haverford, Eve Gutman ‘15 and Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar ‘13 proposed to eliminate paper towels in dorm bathrooms in exchange for installing personal towel hooks. Gutman and Ibbotson-Sindelar had done their homework, presenting a thoughtful argument for their cause. They reported annual paper costs over $11,000 for the 1.4 million paper towels used at the college each year in relation to a one-time cost for hook installation. A week before Plenary, they also held an open forum for the public to express their concerns with the resolution.
Though opposition was vocal about sanitary issues and inconvenience in the pre-vote debate, the resolution passed by a decisive margin (decisive enough so that a paper tally was unnecessary). Students fearing germs can keep their personal towels in their bedrooms down the hall. Also, a limited supply of paper towels will remain available in halls in case of spills and messes.
This resolution marks the third environmentally-related Plenary resolution presented in the past two semesters. Last spring, students voted in favor of implementing a composting program for food at the college, but failed to encourage the words “the environment” to be included in the Honor Code. The recent support for the elimination of paper towels indicates the Haverford student body’s conscientious nature and sense of responsibility.
Congrats, Eve and Tim; your hard work paid off!