Students ‘Kick the Straw’

Published 9:00 am Friday, March 1, 2019

Longwood University hosted the campaign kickoff of Kick the Straw Thursday.

Longwood Sustainability Partners and Clean Virginia Waterways have joined forces to develop and launch the new campaign, which focuses on sustainability. The campaign centers around single–use plastics, specifically plastic straws, the impact they have on our environment and the science of behavioral change.

According to Longwood University, staff member, Justin Ellis Ph.D., “The ultimate goal is to reduce the use of plastics. This is also an opportunity to examine the social factors involved in changing specific behaviors within a community.”

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The event was designed to kick off a semester-long Plastic Straws Commitment Campaign. Longwood University’s Kick the Straw Campaign is competing in a National Simply Straws Competition. It hopes to serve as a model for other sustainability-based schools in Virginia to consider adopting, according to information released from Longwood.

Dr. Ellis recently joined Longwood University’s faculty as the Honors Faculty Scholar for Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars. He also serves as the assistant director of Clean Virginia Waterways, (CVW). According to its website the CVW is a nonprofit organization that works to increase citizen stewardship of Virginia’s waterways. It is based on the Longwood University campus. The CVW is affiliated with the Ocean Conservancy and is also the coordinator of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup in Virginia and a member of the Virginia Water Monitoring Council.

The campaign launch event included an opening reception, a showing of the short film STRAWS followed by four presentations and a Q&A on single use plastics, their impact, and how the science of behavior change can inspire students and citizens to adopt new sustainability habits. All attendees received a free metal straw courtesy of CVW.

“Our goal is to acquire 1,000 pledges between now and May 5 to give up plastic straw use for 30 days. We believe this number of pledges will be enough to win the National Simply Straws Competition, giving Longwood distinction as a sustainability leader and winning our ‘Straw Wranglers’ 100 free glass straws,” a campaign flyer announced.

The Kick the Straw campaign launch event was held Feb. 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Longwood University’s Bedford Hall Atrium and Auditorium in room 111. Space was limited for the event. For more information visit the Facebook event page at