ASG Senate introduces resolution prohibiting funding for styrofoam products


(Allie Goulding/The Daily Northwestern) Weinberg junior Lars Benson introduces a resolution regarding the use and funding of styrofoam in ASG-related events. The Weinberg sophomore, who authored the resolution, presented it at Senate on Wednesday.

Jonah Dylan, Assistant Campus Editor

Associated Student Government Senate introduced a resolution Wednesday that would prohibit the use of products containing polystyrene in ASG programming.

The resolution prohibits all A-status and B-status student groups from receiving funding from ASG for the purchase of styrofoam products. It also prohibits styrofoam, which contains the chemical polystyrene, from ASG-associated events.

Weinberg junior Lars Benson, who presented the resolution, said it “serves to address one of our chief responsibilities as members of the Senate,” which is to protect students’ health.

“We talk a lot about the protection of mental health, the protection of social health, but something that’s underrepresented on this campus is the legitimate concern of physical health issues that may impact our constituents,” Benson said. “This proposal is a simple and attainable way that this body can follow that lead and take tangible actions to improve help and encourage a more sustainable Northwestern.”

Though ASG does not have jurisdiction over events organized by the University or by student groups, the resolution recommends that both transition into using sustainable products that don’t contain polystyrene. ASG has previously avoided using styrofoam at its internal events but has not had any official legislation banning it, ASG President Christina Cilento told The Daily.

The final clause of Wednesday’s resolution addresses Greek life and Greek housing, recommending policies that prohibit the use of styrofoam or other polystyrene products in fraternity or sorority housing.

Parliamentarian Shelby Reitman, a Medill junior, specifically addressed this clause as a sorority member.

“We were going through so much (styrofoam) and so much of it was being thrown out,” Reitman said. “We figured it’s not just our sorority; it’s Greek life in general.”

Cilento, who is involved in Fossil Free NU, said it is important for ASG to invest its money in sustainable products. However, she acknowledged that parts of the resolution are merely suggestions that fall outside of ASG’s jurisdiction.

“We’re looking for a good investment of our money, and obviously we don’t want to be promoting the use of products that are not only harmful for the environment, but (also) for our health,” she said. “It’s just good practice to make sure that we’re funding responsibly to make sure that we have a healthy campus.”

Senate will vote on the resolution next week.

Senators also elected new members to the selection committee Wednesday. The committee will work to appoint a new vice president for public relations after Weinberg senior Ajay Nadig resigned last week. They also held a moment of silence to remember Jordan Hankins, who took her own life earlier this week.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Lars Benson’s year and Shelby Reitman’s year and school. Benson is a junior, and Reitman is a Medill junior. The Daily regrets the errors.

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