Emily Warden, UPenn

As a student studying public health at Penn, I am most interested in looking for ways to bring health equity to campus and West Philadelphia. I find Generation Conscious’s goal towards hygiene security and its distribution of affordable, sustainable products especially important to me. While I discovered my passion for public health during this time of COVID we have seen the importance of and relationship between hygiene and health. By providing affordable and accessible hygiene products, Genco is helping reduce the disparities among marginalized populations.

While Genco’s sustainable products contribute towards combating climate change, they have much broader implications with human health outcomes. The largest waste facility that accepts Phily’s garbage is in Chester–a lower income, predominantly black area. As a result, there are prevalent poor health outcomes in Chester, including the rate of asthma in children and ovarian and lung cancer. Placing large waste facilities by these communities exacerbates the health disparities and perpetuates the cycle of detrimental health issues. By using more sustainable products, such as Genco’s, individuals not only help reduce their environmental impacts, but also contribute to better health overall.

Penn has a huge influence on Philadelphia and surrounding areas. If Penn were to utilize Genco products, students would be contributing less to a linear flow of products and overall production of waste. Additionally, the project would hopefully set the precedent for acknowledging health equity and hygiene security, thus impacting the mindset of the Philly area.

I am a member of Penn Sustainability Consulting (PSC). Two of our main goals are to provide Genco’s products free of charge to FGLI students and change the culture at Penn to utilizing more sustainable hygiene products. In order to work towards this goal, PSC is currently initiating a pilot project within one of the dorms, where residents sample a variety of Genco’s hygiene products. We are excited for the residents to try Genco’s products and hope to implement this project university-wide.

Over the last few weeks, I have had a great experience using Genco’s hygiene products, particularly the detergent sheets. Before receiving them, I used liquid detergent. Not only was liquid detergent more inconvenient to take to the laundry room, but it’s carbon footprint is significantly worse than Genco’s sheets. After working with Generation Conscious, I look forward to bringing their products and awareness to the Penn community.

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