On Wednesday, February 26th, GCSA held an event in Chesters open to the student body in which metal straws were handed out. The event gave students mason jars and had hydroflasks as prizes for winning games. Throughout the event, there was food served, crafts to participate in, and original games that were played. Before the event even started, there were about 50 students in line. Throughout the evening approximately 150-200 students attended the event.
Victoria Barcelo, vice president of communications for GCSA, was the initial mastermind behind the idea of handing out metal straws for free to students on campus in response to “the concern of the lack of straws on campus.” Barcelo described that the student government planned to “welcom[e] students into a popular student space, to show them that GCSA is supporting and serving them!”
Teddymax Talanoa and Maya Mulholland were the individuals who were primarily involved in the planning of the event itself, which took approximately one month to organize. Talanoa expressed that “a lot of things didn’t go as planned initially but the Lord definitely met us where we were at because a bunch of stuff just came together at the last minute.” Overall planning the event was “so much fun, going through each step of the process from sitting down in meetings and talking conceptually to actually ordering all of the items to the day that all of the order came in on campus.”
At the event itself, the first 20 people to attend got a free mason jar along with their straw. As for food, there were gluten-free and vegan pastries from a local bakery. Additionally, Talanoa planned original games including one titled “saving the turtles” in which students had to find small wooden turtles that had been hidden around Chesters to win a hydroflask. In the other game, there was a “ball-pit of sorts but it was filled with plastic water bottles,” described Talanoa. Some of the plastic bottles had goldfish in them, and students would face off picking up water bottles and whoever ended up picking up the most water bottles with goldfish in them won. Throughout the evening, there was a paper succulent contest as well and paper-table covers that students could create art on.
Overall, Talanoa described “the purpose of this event [as] two-fold, in that it is intended to promote sustainability as well as raise awareness of GCSA’s role on our campus.” He continued to say that “as Christians, we are called to care for creation but unfortunately have worked against this through our outrageous rise in plastic usage and other non-biodegradable products.”
Teddymax Talanoa further explained the motive of the student government: “GCSA is tasked with enhancing the lives within the student body through a variety of methods. This launch party will serve as a communal event that connects us with a fun and educational atmosphere in which to celebrate our collective goal to grow in our relationship with the earth, the Lord, and one another.”
Student Lauren Vo attended the straw event and said “The GCSA event was very creative, they reached out using subtle ways to attract people. I like how they also had baked goods that supported the local communities. Their games were well thought-out and unique, having paper flower competitions, and specifically a game of collecting plastic bottles with some having goldfish to represent saving fish.”
Teddymax finished off by saying that “impact is made by the intentional and seemingly small steps of faith we take towards purposeful living. A metal straw campaign is just one such way we can begin to advocate for mindful existence in our immediate and global body.”