Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In the aftermath of Earthlust’s successful GreenMarch campaign that focused on environmental justice, Earthlust has decided to continue their activist momentum in GreenApril, by touching an intimate part of students’ lives: their bowel movements.
Bobby Blumpin, an Earthlust leader, elaborated: “GreenMarch focused on the macro-level of the environment because we were discussing how the environment relates to ideas of social justice and environmental politics; however, we decided that in GreenApril, we want to get more personal with the students of Swarthmore. We want to make human excrement our primary focus.”
Blumpin said that, human excrement can lead to many problematic issues for the environment, ranging from the waste of water in toilets to ocean pollution. He explained, “While human waste has always been with us throughout history, the ways that it is fundamentally dealt with in our modern society is harmful and detrimental to the environment. From using too much toilet paper to flushing unnecessarily, from clogging sanitation systems to polluting our local waterways, fecal matter is huge issue in our problem and we want to address it in GreenApril.”
GreenApril’s theme is titled “Swat Squats” and its initiatives are varied and ambitious. Earthlust aims to manage every aspect of students’ bowel movements in an environmentally sustainable ways. Maurice Eldritch ’61, Vice President of the College and a firm supporter of College sustainability, will send out weekly tips to the student and faculty listserves, detailing ways to reduce the volume and mass of feces, in addition to tips for using only one square of toilet paper per sitting.
Eldritch elaborated, “I firmly believe in Earthlust’s campaign to revolutionize the ways that we perform our bowel movements. Earthlust members’ brilliant activism and constant vigilance on issues of environmentalism greatly benefits the college and I can’t wait to see what they think of next.”
Besides these weekly tips, Earthlust will host several field trips. The first field trip is a visit to the Sanitation Facility in Philadelphia, where students will be given an inside look on how excrement is dealt with in the city. The second field trip will focus on a local clean-up of the Delaware River, a waterway that has historically experienced fecal buildup in its water.
Additionally, Sharples has agreed to serve less fiber in dishes in an effort to reduce the the average number of bowel movements per student. Lana McDungall, Director of Dining Services, elaborated, “Similar to ways that we have collaborated with Earthlust on Tarble Bottled Water and 10-cent discount for people who use their own mugs, we are eager to assist Earthlust in their GreenApril campaign. In my opinion, I think this is a great idea because it brings to the forefront issues that we all know about, but we never talk about.”
GreenApril’s closing, final event will be an all-campus toilet blackout, where all campus toilets will stop flushing for 3 hours. The Earthlust leader explains, “This toilet blackout will demonstrate to the entire campus how much water we waste through flushing, and will induce students to consider flushing only once per 5 sittings to make our world a better place.”
With clear administrative support, passionate student support, and collaboration with the Dining Services, GreenApril will leave no remnants of pollution behind and do their “doody” to better the environment.