The Student Association Senate passed a resolution Monday pushing the University to eliminate single-use plastic bottles on campus.
Senators urged officials to eliminate the use of single-use plastics and increase the number of refilling stations on campus. The senate also confirmed six new members for five graduate positions and one undergraduate position, confirmed four research aides and unanimously voted in a vice president for sustainability.
SA Sen. Lydia Abera, GWSB-U and the sponsor of the act, said the resolution is designed to hold officials accountable for phasing out single-use plastics as they announced in June. She said purchasing single-use plastic bottles costs the University roughly $2,000 more than paying for tap water so officials would save money in the long term if they place more filling stations around campus.
“The Board of Trustees’ Environmental, Social and Governance Responsibility Task Force released a statement saying they are going to commit to ensuring our campus becomes a role model for urban sustainability by phasing out single-use plastics across the University,” she said. “And this legislation is doing just that. We want it in writing and saying, ‘Hey, this is what you said you would do, and we want you to phase up the water bottles off campus.’”
SA Sen. Gabriel Young, CCAS-U and a co-sponsor of the resolution, said he spoke with members of Take Back the Tap – an organization that encourages students to eliminate their use of single-use plastics – who said Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz already approved finances for increasing the number of filling stations on campus.
“I think the fact that Mark Diaz already approved it is enough to be said that the numbers must have already been approved and calculated,” Young said.
The senate also confirmed Charlotte Gaynor and Issacc Abecasis, two first-year graduate students in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as SEAS graduate senators and sophomore Christian Williams to an undergraduate Columbian College of Arts and Sciences seat.
Faith Adeola, a second-year graduate student in the Milken Institute School of Public Health, and Ama Appiah, a first-year graduate student, were appointed to graduate-at-large positions, and Paula Reynal, a first-year graduate student in the Elliott School of International Affairs, was confirmed to an Elliott School graduate seat.
Karina Michelle Ochoa Berkley was also approved as the vice president for sustainability.
David Brothers contributed reporting.