Over 30 Eckerd students came to Fox Hall on Tuesday, March 10 to make environmentally-friendly sunscreen. The ECOS Environmental Responsibility Committee hosted the “Do-It-Yourself Coral Reef-safe Sunscreen” as Day 2 of Care for Coral Week.
This event allowed students to make sunscreen that is completely coral reef safe. Glass containers were provided, although some students chose to bring their own containers.
First-year marine science major Isabel Moyer attended the event and made her own sunscreen to go along with her many other natural products, like other sunscreens and facemasks.
“I hope that the corals will still be around by the time I graduate, so I'd love to do anything I can to help make that happen,” Moyer said. “I’m really excited to use my sunscreen.”
Students made the sunscreen by first mixing coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter and heating it for three minutes in the microwave. Then, zinc oxide was added, which provides SPF sun protection. Once the mixture cooled, it hardened into a thicker, white paste. The main organizer, first-year Chloe McKenna, found this recipe online.
“A lot of people don't realize even if you get stuff without the oxybenzone, if it's a spray or just whatever is readily available, a lot of times not safe for the environment,” Moyer said. “So it's nice that you know exactly what's in it.”
Students could also pick up Care for Coral stickers and pins, as well as pick up a raffle ticket to enter the Care for Coral Week raffle. The winners were announced on Wednesday, March 11. Many of the supplies were from The Refillery, a local business that allows customers to fill reusable containers with various products.
Juniors Isa Rios, Marina Garmendia and Peyton Ganger from the Coralisma group also tabled at the event with a poster about their coral reef restoration and a video. Along with volunteers, they are going to their coral restoration site in Mexico over spring break, and they were excited to make sunscreen to bring with them.
“I’m so thankful to [McKenna] for inviting us to present what we have done in Mexico to the school,” Garmendia said. “I think that’s also important for the school to see that we are doing something and for them to get involved in our project. And I think this event is super cool to make your own sunscreen.”
Scubi Jew recruited students for their next Dive Against Debris to clean Tampa Bay, and PIRG’s Ban Roundup group was also present asking students to sign a pledge to ban the use of roundup in public areas of St. Petersburg. Moyer is also a member of PIRG.
“It’s the newest environmental campaign on campus so I'm really excited to see them coming out,” Moyer said.
Most students came to the event between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., with attendance slowing down afterward. Despite this, all 24 glass containers provided were used, and many of the stickers and pins were gone.