With news of a pile of garbage the size of an island floating in the Pacific Ocean, it can be a little overwhelming to imagine what can be done about the ever growing waste that is getting produced on behalf of human consumption. A solution offered up by the Berea College Visitors Center is one small feat offering a gleam of hope in a sea of troubles (or in this case, trash).
In August 2018, the Visitors Center had a soft opening for Smoothies on the Square offering up a healthy and zero-waste option for visitors, college students, and community members a-like. By using compostable cups, plastic straw alternatives, and composting any food waste that is produced by the smoothies, the Visitors Center is providing yet another example of excellence at Berea College. Susan Buckmaster (Director, Berea College Retails Sales) admitted that the popularized “plastic straw debate” actually inspired the decision to open the smoothie bar with straw alternatives in stock, making the zero-waste concept even more applicable to something that is so small it usually gets looked over. Classic paper straws are being used as well as pasta straws. Many students shy away from the pasta straws, but these straws have no taste and hold up better than the paper ones.
Susan Buckmaster spearheaded the delicious change in the Visitors Center after the jewelry professor retired, leaving the jewelry stand empty. Susan explained that the smoothie bar had been a vision of hers since starting her work with the Visitors Center, “It just screamed an old fashion soda bar.” Her dedication to health left her thinking about ways to utilize the space, “In a community the size of ours with two McDonalds, it was really important to me to offer the community a healthy option,” she remarked. With unique options, a welcoming environment, and a sustainable business model, Smoothies on the Square is a perfect little spot for anyone to stop in for a healthy snack.