Living a zero-waste lifestyle at UT

Take a look at the trash can nearest you in your building. What do you see? A mix of styrofoam take out containers, Starbucks cups, gum wrappers, napkins and tissues? Maybe even plastic bottles and paper plates? These items are not uncommon in every trash can, but if a recycling bin were available, would you use it?

“I would say I care about [the environment], but it’s not really something that I think about a whole lot or make a lot of intentional efforts for,” University of Tennessee freshman Emily Wellman said.

Expecting every person to follow a zero-waste lifestyle proves impossible. However, small changes in a person’s day-to-day life can positively impact the environment.

UT Recycling Outreach Coordinator Michelle Van Guilde said, “the actual definition of zero-waste is, for the things you use, 90 percent is being diverted from the landfill”.

Countless options exist for students who want to try to be environmentally friendly.

Take advantage of the Mug Project

Students can save $0.60 or receive 15 percent off their purchase by carrying their own reusable cup to UT dining locations. Reusable cups take the place of paper or plastic cups, which harm the environment.

According to a recent UT Recycling Mug Project report, the initiative saved students $47,020 last year and kept 1,600 pounds of waste from a landfill.

Sign up for “The Green Leaf”

President of Eco-Vols Vicky Louangaphay encourages students to sign up for The Green Leaf newsletter.

“The Office of Sustainability has a monthly newsletter called The Green Leaf. They usually send out tips and environment news about a bunch of environmental organizations and what they are doing,” Louangaphay said.

This electronic newsletter allows students to stay up to date on environmental news without wasting any paper to receive it.

Suspend straws

One-use plastic straws permeate restaurants, fast food chains and dorms or apartments, but these straws are major polluters. Washable, reusable straws reduce waste at a low investment.

“I love recommending that people just not use straws. That is one of the main pollutants in the ocean; plastic straws and other micro plastics,” Louangaphy said.


Compost consists of organic materials such as paper, fruit and vegetable scraps and egg shells that have been put into a pile, watered and decomposed as stated in the “Knoxville Citizen’s Guide to Sustainability.”

Many campus dining halls now follow composting programs. For example, Southern Kitchen features a compost bin (its main trash can) into which students can dispose waste.

Recycle in the dorm and on Campus

The “Knoxville Citizen’s Guide to Sustainability” states that Knoxville households throw away 70 to 80 percent of what could be recycled.

Purchasing recyclable items cuts down on the overall waste sent to landfills. Plastic bottles, sticky notes, aluminum cans and more can be recycled on UT’s campus.

Education and awareness create the possibility to make small differences.

Wellman said, “I try to walk places when I can, and I do recycle in my dorm and my family does it at home. Anytime I see something that would not be too out of my way that would be a better option for the environment is something I usually try to go with.”

“While it would be harder for a college student, I think if you are willing to put in whatever time or effort or money it takes, then I think it is definitely possible.”

Written by Ainsley Kelso


The price of pink

Written by Taylor Moore

Women are the nurturers of the Earth who keep it growing and expanding. One would think that corporations would take it easy on them when it comes to pricing everyday products.

In the midst of recent women’s movements, feminists becoming vocal and silenced women coming into the limelight, several aspects of women’s lives have been recognized as unequal to that of men’s lives.

Walking into a store to buy everyday products as a woman costs more than what a man would have to pay. According to New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, women pay 13 percent more for personal care products, eight percent more for adult clothing and four percent more for children’s clothing.

There is a term for the cost of men and women’s products: it’s called a pink tax, which refers to the extra amount that women are charged for products or services.

One reason products tend to cost more for women is because “retailers see women as their biggest target,” said Ted Potrikus, the CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, in a USA Today article. This is evident in the stereotype that women have to always be physically beautiful as opposed to men.

Women are subject to more pressure to be beautiful and to purchase nothing but the best. This has been huge in propelling the pink tax forward.

According to Candice Elliott in an article for “Listen Money Matters,” men’s shirts cost an average of $2.86 compared to a price of $4.95 for women’s shirts.

Peter Blake, executive director of SEFA, or the Southeastern Fabric Association said that the reason women’s clothing costs more to dry clean than men’s clothing.

“Typically men’s shirts are pretty straight forward — they are anywhere from 14.5 inches to 17.5 inches neck size — and button down. They go on automate presses and you can do 50 of them an hour, maybe 70 an hour,” Blake said. “When you get to the blouses, because of the ornamentation or because of the size difference, they don’t have automated presses to do those, so those have to be done on different presses and it takes a lot more labor.”

The pink tax starts even as early as childhood. According to a study done by Boomerang Commerce, pink colored toys were the most expensive. For retailers like Target and Amazon, pink items cost two to 15 percent more than any other color.

All of this can be ironic when it’s widely known that women get paid less than men. Women are continued to be paid 78 cents to every man’s dollar. And the pay gets worse when women are divided into ethnicity groups.

Most researchers and feminists suggest buying men products to remedy the problem. But will this really bring justice to the real problem?

One tactic that could bring about change of prices within different companies is to make complaints and air it out with the brand’s customer service. This could urge companies to crack down on gender equality when it comes to their products.

From hair and hygiene products to children’s toys, there is a lot that can be done to ensure pink isn’t the priciest color on the shelves.

Featured image by Stocksnap, courtesy of Creative Commons

Edited by Taylor Owens

Opinion: All Time Low rocks The Mill and Mine

Let me take you back to 2012 when Psy’s “Gangnam Style” took over the charts, “The Avengers” movie fought its way up box office ranks and Barack Obama won re-election. At the same time, a middle school version of myself listened to a band called All Time Low. I’d heard of the band before, but this marked the time I dug deeper into the music.

After years of listening to their music, keeping up with the lives of band members and watching music videos on repeat, I scored the opportunity to attend my first All Time Low show. Better than that: I met the band Monday, April 9.

That night, the band performed at Knoxville’s The Mill and Mine alongside opening acts Dreamers and Gnash. The venue filled with longtime fans and newcomers – all there to celebrate a shared love of great music.

The Meet and Greet allowed 84 lucky fans to take a photo and talk with band members Alex Gaskarth, Jack Barakat, Zack Merrick and Rian Dawson before the show.

“Do not say something stupid,” I said to myself as I stood in line. I anxiously awaited my turn, and as I rounded the corner, I could not help but to break into a ridiculous grin.

I hugged each of the guys and told them I had listened to their music from middle school until now. They asked if I attended school in Knoxville, and I promptly cheered “Go Volunteers!”

I gladly volunteered my time to listen to their music.

All Time Low’s music, often categrorized as “pop punk,” can be compared to bands like Fall Out Boy, 5 Seconds of Summer and blink-182. Like other bands, their music evolved a great deal but continues to please fans old and new. Enduring music makes for a great band, and the opening acts sounded like they will also please crowds for years to come.

Dreamers and Gnash, both great openers, warmed up the crowd with a mix of new and old music. Both thanked All Time Low for bringing them on Part II of “The Young Renegades Tour.” Gnash’s performance his hit song “i hate u, i love you,” which peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard charts in 2016, lived up to the hype as a crowd favorite.

I never imagined I would meet a band whose music I had loved since before I turned 13-years-old, let alone stand front row for the concert. From my front row position, I immersed myself in nostalgia as the band performed hits from at least five of seven studio albums including “Somewhere in Neverland,” “Lost in Stereo” and “Dirty Laundry.”

This concert marked the first time All Time Low has played in Knoxville in the band’s 15-year history. The guys released their most recent album, “Last Young Renegade,” in mid-2017. The release came after a move from Hopeless Records to Fueled By Ramen early last year, as Alex Gaskarth mentioned in an interview with Alternative Press.

My middle school dreams came to fruition with good friends and good music. As a group, we laughed at their jokes, fittingly cried during “Therapy” and begged the band to throw guitar picks our way. The band left Knoxville after the show, continuing on with the rest of the tour. But, they left me quoting the song “Good Times.”

“I’ll hate the goodbye, but I won’t forget the good times.”

I hit an all time high.

Thanks for stopping by, All Time Low. I hope we meet again.


Featured Photo: Ainsley Kelso

Edited by Lexie Little

Tennessee Journalist to receive Encyclopedia Americannia entry

One student news organization stands synonymous with excellence: the Tennessee Journalist. The website’s unparalleled popularity garnered the attention of an esteemed institution to forever immortalize its place in academia. 

On April 31, Encyclopedia Americannia will publish a new edition featuring an entry for Tennessee Journalist (TNJN).

The full entry reads as follows:

“With humble beginnings on a GoDaddy server in 2006, the Tennessee Journalist grew to be a shining example of student journalistic integrity and humility. 

TNJN features an illustrious staff including Pulitzer Prize for Complaining heavy favorite Lexie Little and Buzzfeed Timothée Chalamet beat reporter Taylor Owens. 

TNJN earned its sagacious reputation for hard news with groundbreaking tips for Galentine’s Day and one semi-exclusive interview with a lesser known Grammy award-winner. 

In 2018, TNJN surpassed bilious rival publication the Daily Bacon for best campus news publication as a heartier source for adroit news.”

Tennessee Journalist staff responded with the utmost humbleness, as if such an illustrious honor could possibly be above the larger-than-life publication.

“I can’t believe it,” Arts & Culture editor Chelsea Babin said. “I just…really can’t believe it.”

With a staff of more than four people in news bureaus across the world including study abroad programs to Sydney, Australia, Italy, and Prague (did we mention Prague) and headquarters in various rooms of the Communications Building, the Tennessee Journalist maintains a commanding presence.

News editor Vanessa Rodriguez said, “what?”

Obviously, humility remains paramount at TNJN, the publication most deserving of recognition.

Editor’s note: This story is entirely fictitious save for the outstanding reputation of the Tennessee Journalist and editors’ names. Happy April Fools’ Day!

Staff Recommendations: Netflix series to watch in less than a day

Between school, work and extracurriculars, we somehow find time to binge-watch Netflix shows. In a desperate attempt to take a mental break, we watch everything. From shows like “Riverdale” (only a season and a half) to shows like “Friends” (10 seasons), we get sucked into alternate realities. Even with studying to do, we find it hard to avoid watching an entire series. How can we watch and study? The solution: watching shows we can binge in less than a day.

Three shows on Netflix you can watch in less than day:

1. “Sherlock” – BBC

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman star in BBC’s version of Sherlock Holmes. BBC brings you the world of Sherlock Holmes in four three-episode seasons. Each episode is an hour and a half of action packed mystery solving. “Sherlock” leaves plenty of time to do some course problem-solving of your own after you finish a season. Cumberbatch won the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his starring role as Sherlock Holmes.

2. “House of Cards” – BBC

Following the model of Sherlock’s creator, the BBC version of House of Cards (1990s) contains four 55-minute episodes, leaving time to finish classwork before you enter into great schemes of Parliament. This show originally premiered Nov. 18, 1990 and won the 1991 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series, as well as the 1997 Peabody Award. With stars like Miles Anderson, most recently known for “La La Land,” and Ian Richardson, this limited series can captivate you quickly.

3. “Stranger Things” Season 1

This Netflix original series averages 50 minutes per show with 8 episodes. With rave reviews, this supernatural drama provides an escape from that dreaded essay, which is nearly as scary as the creatures in this alternate world. This science fiction show stars Winona Ryder and, our generation’s new favorite actress, Millie Bobby Brown. Millie Bobby Brown just received the 2018 Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite TV Actress. The series was voted Kids’ Choice for Favorite TV Show.

If none of the above shows interest you, Netflix offers other series you can watch quickly.


Featured photo: Wikimedia Commons

Tips to stay focused after break

You come back to campus carefree and well rested after spring break. Then, you realize you have three papers due this week and an exam in 10 days. We only have six weeks until exams begin, so here are five tips to jumpstart your second semester comeback.

  1. Go to class

Waking up for an 8 a.m. class after break seems horrible, and few students want to sit in a 50+ minute lecture. However, class attendance often stands as the best way to raise grades and perform well on finals. Going to class also avoids attendance point penalties.

  1. Keep organized

By simply making a list of assignments or exams, nothing comes as a surprise (except for pop quizzes). Lists make preparation easy; never miss a small assignment or forget to study for a test again. Bullet journals, planners and calendars are all helpful tools. Phone reminder notifications may be a good way to stay on track and to stay off Twitter for a while.

  1. Go to tutoring/office hours

The Student Success Center offers tutoring appointments in multiple locations on campus. Appointments can be scheduled in GradesFirst, or find walk-in hours. Do not hesitate to attend office hours. Check your syllabi for designated hours or speak with your professor to set up an appointment. No one knows the coursework better than the professor.

  1. Sleep at night, not during the day

Use apps like SleepTime or Calm to stay on a real sleep schedule and cut back on napping. Getting a restful sleep helps to maintain focus and avoid snoozing in class.

  1. Get motivated by others

Chances are, others need motivation to study or do not quite understand class content. Reach out to a few people in class to study, ask questions or keep up with course content. Studying sometimes forges friendships as an added bonus.

The second half of any semester can be long and exhausting especially when you can see summer right there! Stay motivated and attack the next six weeks head on.

Featured Image from Wikimedia Commons