The Collegian
Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Someone tap the keg. I'll pump.

It's that time of year — time to offer up some more green solutions for the University of Richmond's campus!

From the school that brought you such startlingly popular and successful programs as Trayless Fridays and the Green Bike Program comes a new solution to help save the environment. A disclaimer: This idea isn't flashy and it certainly isn't new. But in terms of saving the globe, it is second to none.

Our campus needs to reintroduce the good old-fashioned keg. Think with me for a minute — how many cans of beer does Richmond go through during an average weekend? We can come up with a conservative estimate of cans used in the apartments by assuming that on each Friday or Saturday night there is roughly one party on each apartment block.

There are 21 apartment blocks, and thus if there is a party on Friday and Saturday on each block, then there would be 42 parties per weekend (admittedly this is probably a substantial underestimate given that each block likely has more than one party a night and this also doesn't include overall campus usage in dorms and fraternity lodges). Each party, as a lower limit, may have eight 24-pack cases of beer at each party. In terms of individual cans this means that in the University Forest Apartments alone Richmond students go through 8,064 cans of beer during an average weekend.

This lowball estimate shows the absolute absurdity of using beer cans as the primary container for our euphoric libations. With all that aluminum, Richmond could build two or three more recycled-material bikes per week. Further compounding this waste of aluminum is the sad reality that probably only one-third of these cans actually get recycled properly.

I will certainly admit my apartment is guilty of succumbing to the temptation to throw away cans after our recycling bin gets full. But if you do muster up the courage to carry your cache to the recycling bins, you encounter a scene to rival the first 30 minutes of "Wall-E."

One of the recycling bins has been filled with garbage, the second is overflowing with Keystone and the third has been stolen and some kid is now running around campus playing R2D2. Not to mention the ground around the bins is a "who's who" of cheap discount liquor. Regrettably, you're forced to add your cans to the post-apocalyptic world.

So, this leads us to our brilliant solution. Bring back the keg! Banished from our campus a while back because kids were apparently unable to handle such a large container of alcohol, it is time that we bring back this old relic. If students want to get drunk they will do so regardless of what form their alcohol comes in.

To insinuate that kegs are dangerous because of their propensity to induce binge drinking is insulting to our self-control, but warranted. Still, this Prohibition-like ban of kegs is particularly strange given that campuses all over the country allow kegs and have no greater problems with drinking-related issues than we do. The Collegian's Police Report lists some of Richmond's finest every week who have made alcohol-induced trips to the emergency room. Do people plausibly think that these numbers would really swell with the allowance of kegs on campus?

Now, before the Sierra Club tries to jump down my throat, I understand that by using kegs for drinking we will be increasing our usage of plastic cups. But given these cups are already used for beer pong and flip cup, the increase would likely not be that dramatic. And, if we really wanted to be good little tree-huggers, we could all use our Lug-a-Mugs or metal water bottles to fill up our brews.

Kegs receive passing grades for all three of the Rs — reduce, reuse and recycle. So bring them back. It's the green thing to do.

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