US student makes a mark with straw ban

Deakin news
25 May 2018

American student Nick Geyer is making a mark during his time at Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus after instigating a ban on straws in the residences.

Mr Geyer is from the small town of Silver Lake in Wisconsin and is in Warrnambool as a part of his marine biology program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

He will spend two trimesters at Deakin for his last year before graduation and will be in Warrnambool until the end of October.

Not using straws is something Mr Geyer tries to do in his day-to-day life, but this is the first time he’s tried to inspire others to do the same.

'When I got here I saw I was surrounded by people a lot like myself and we were studying the same thing so I put on our residence Facebook page seeing if people would be interested in a straw ban petition,' he said.

'It was received wonderfully; I posted the petition and people began signing it and really taking it seriously.'

At this stage the ban applies only to the residences but Mr Geyer would like to see it go throughout the campus. 'I'm thinking of more active, fun ways to get even more people involved next trimester in not just straws but all single use plastic that is harmful to terrestrial and aquatic environments,' he said.

'As a marine biology major, the big concern is not when they are a whole straw, but when they have been dissolved to what is called microplastics and can then be found within aquatic organisms, including those even at the bottom of the ocean. Although it’s not just plastic straws that do damage, I feel like the push to rid of straws comes from the simplicity of it. It really isn’t difficult to ask not to have a straw when going out to eat; it’s something any person can do.'

Mr Geyer said he loved Warrnambool and everything Australia has to offer. 'It’s really been an amazing experience, especially since I’m landlocked back home and up until coming here I’ve only seen the ocean two or three times.'

The straw ban continues the passion of Deakin University Warrnambool marine biology students for the environment.

In addition to the no-straw pledge, students have recently planted trees along the Hopkins River and undertaken a beach clean-up in Lady Bay.

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