Sanctuary campus dialogue continues, GSS promotes increased composting

By Keefe Watson and By Keefe Watson

The Graduate Student Senate held further discussion about inclusion and diversity, including sanctuary campuses, and passed a resolution promoting furthering the current dining hall composting practices.

David Levey, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, briefly visited the meeting on Friday.

He praised the students for speaking up about recent university issues, including the topic of a sanctuary campus.

“There was the issue of a sanctuary city, and it’s good for you guys to be concerned and upset about it,” Levey said. “Your voice is heard and your concern for this issue is understood.”

Interim Dean of the Graduate College Peggy Booth also addressed the senate body about various topics, including the sanctuary campus.

“Whether it’s a sanctuary campus is almost beside the point,” Booth said. “They can always show up at the graduate college.”

Academic Affairs Chair Joseph Robertshaw’s informed GSS of a special Faculty Senate meeting called for Tuesday.

“Faculty has called for a special session next Tuesday,” Robertshaw said. “For any of you who plan to go and voice your opinions…please remain calm, cool and collected.”

Tuesday’s discussion will be centered around the merits of both a “welcome campus” and a “sanctuary campus.” The meeting will be held Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. in the McFall Center Gallery.

Booth also addressed President Mary Ellen Mazey’s mass email on Thursday afternoon to the University community.

“What her email is saying is that we get the fact that there are…problems with students perhaps being harassed on campus…just problems with inclusion and diversity,” Booth said.

She reiterated Mazey’s email point of reporting incidents that occur on or off campus concerning any student, faculty or staff member of the University.

“Marketing and communication are going to put it in a much more prominent place,” she said. “So when you see an incident you can easily click on the link that says ‘report it.’”

Booth also ensured GSS that the Graduate College is still admitting international students regardless of what country they may live in.

The Senate also passed a resolution in support of a pilot program aimed to increase post-consumer composting of food thrown away at the University dining facilities.

The resolution notes the University’s previously made commitment to become carbon neutral by 2040.

An increase in composting would help the University work toward that goal.

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“The disposal of food waste in sanitary landfills results in anaerobic decomposition, releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere thereby raising carbon emissions,” the resolution stated.

GSS hopes that post-consumer composting will be implemented in as many dining facilities as “applicable and practical” if the pilot program is a success.

Environmental Affairs Chair Joshua Chamberland presented the resolution to the body during Friday’s meeting.

“The current program includes only pre-consumer food waste of fruits and veggies,” Chamberland said.

This current program allows for about 2,000 pounds of food waste to be composted per week.

“The current proposal is to expand the current program to include post-consumer food waste to one dining facility, likely the Oaks dining facility, for one year to do it as a pilot project,” he said.

The resolution, introduced by Chamberland, passed with no oppositions or abstentions.

Elections for next year’s GSS executive board will be held during its next general assembly meeting on March 24, 2017.