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Cal Student Club Kicks Plastic Solo Cups from Campus

  • UC Berkeley club launches #NoSolo campaign to become the first Solo Cup-Free college campus
  • Cal students spark sustainability movement to be replicated nationwide

BERKELEY Calif., April 19, 2019 - The Surfrider Foundation UC Berkeley Club plans to put an end to a college staple: the plastic, single-use Solo Cup. On Friday, April 19th at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity (2424 Warring St, Berkeley, CA), students will show that the #NoSolo model is an alternative by switching to reusable cups. The event creates a platform to raise awareness, while simultaneously raising funds for the campaign.

Mia Silverberg, the Co-President of Cal’s Surfrider Club, said, “The classic red party cup has served its time as the go-to for college party hosts, and a new era of reusables and compostables is coming in strong to take its place.”  Encouraging students to bring their own reusable cups can reduce plastic pollution created at events.

On average, more than 200,000 solo cups per year are used at UC Berkeley, 2.65 tons of plastic waste. As Earth Day approaches, the UC Berkeley Club hopes to inspire fellow students to make their events more sustainable. Recycling isn’t enough to address the plastic problem, especially as U.S. plastics are becoming harder to recycle with changes by China and other countries. Plastics in the ocean never really go away: they continue to break down into smaller, and often more lethal, pieces that harm wildlife and ruin beaches.

“College kids buy solo cups because they’re cheap, and because they’re removed from the repercussions that they have on our oceans and the environment. Our event this Friday will address both issues,” said Brian Nguyen, the Club’s Co-President.

The #NoSolo launch event incentivizes students to #BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup) to the event, charging a $5 admissions fee to those who BYOC and an $8 fee for those who don’t. Those who show up empty handed will receive a 16 oz stainless steel reusable cup. The event will have live music from popular student bands such as “Mint Julep” and “West Park”, sustainably sourced food, an interactive awareness photo booth, a raffle, and of course, kombucha.

The club made monumental strides this semester by winning $3,000 during “Cal Big Give” for most creative social media post which showcased members studying at the library dressed up in wetsuits and full scuba gear. Now with funding, the team is ecstatic to execute on their project and bring awareness to the impact of Solo cups on college campuses

UC Berkeley has historically fostered social movements due to the forward-thinking students that are drawn to it. It’s the perfect platform to fulfill Surfrider Foundation’s vision, first at Cal and then expanding to other universities across the country. Already over 300 students have responded as interested in the Facebook event and the overall consensus from the student population is positive and enthusiastic.

The club is partnering with the Cal Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council (PHC), and the Surfrider Foundation San Francisco Chapter to subsidize the extra costs associated with reusable cups so other groups can transition.

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About the Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains more than a million supporters, activists and members, with over 170 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 500 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at

The Surfrider Foundation UC Berkeley Club is the student-led local club of the national Surfrider Foundation.

The Surfrider Foundation San Francisco Chapter works to address plastic pollution, especially at its sources. The Chapter represents nearly 3,000 member in San Francisco and nearby who love our oceans and want to to protect them. The Chapter hopes to work with student groups to launch similar campaigns on their campuses.


Surfrider Foundation UC Berkeley Club
Conrad DeMasi

Surfrider Foundation San Francisco
Eli Saddler