Campaigns get a jumpstart

Campaign posters for Undergraduate Student Government positions could be seen scattered across campus much earlier this year.

At last night’s USG meeting, Senators were given the go ahead to start their campaigns, while last year’s election runners had only two weeks prior to the election.

Emergency legislation was presented by Chief Administrator Tony Wagener and At-Large Senator Johnnie Lewis regarding the issue.

The legislation requires the Procedure and Appeals Board to submit a series of rules regarding elections each year. It was passed unanimously by the senate.

Wagener discussed the rules set for this calendar year, including one rule that permits the campaigning process to start at the beginning of the semester in which the election is held.

At-Large Senator Patrick Dehnhart expressed concern that the campaigning process might take the focus away from the organization.

But to Wagener, it is better to have all campaigning efforts out in the open. He said in past elections work has been done before the official two weeks started.

“There was a lot of shady activity going on in some of the election activity,” he said.

At-Large Senator Jason Snead saw the extended campaigning period as a chance to talk to students about important campus issues.

“Campaigns offer a further opportunity to create public dialogue,” he said.

One important issue discussed by the Senate at the meeting was the University’s use of paper and plastic products.

With intentions of becoming a more environmentally friendly and cost effective campus, Lewis invited DART, a manufacturer of polystyrene products, to speak at the meeting.

Mike Martinez, regional manager of DART, introduced the senate to recycling possibilities for Polystyrene foam cups.

For around $300 per semester, DART can provide the University with a foam compressor and recycling service.

Martinez said in 1995 there were 88 Universities around the country that utilized the service. Today, there are less than a dozen.

Martinez credits the decrease to the disinterest of society in environmental issues.

Lewis, who sits on the Food Advisory Board, said foam cups from the University are currently sent to the landfill. The board was pleased with the DART presentation, but hasn’t made any significant steps toward switching food service products.

At-Large Senator Natalie Olsen said the presentation did not sell her on the idea, but she thinks the board should continue to research what DART can offer the University.

“Anything that’s going to help the campus be more environmentally conscious is something to be considered,” she said.

With only four general assembly meetings left this year, USG President Bernard Little asked the senate to think about other issues affecting the campus this semester, including Bursarables, roll-over dollars, higher education funding and the downtown shuttle.