Campus Environment Here’s why Ohio U might be switching to reusable to-go boxes at dining halls By Marilyn Icsman Posted on November 2, 2017 7 min read 0 1 520 At Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting, the Senate issued a “global vision,” called for the university to divest from fossil fuels and discussed Ohio House bills. Student Senate makes its first-ever “global vision” The Senate passed a bill declaring its global vision, a statement that outlines what the Senate wants to achieve in its own programming and what it thinks the university should strive for. The statement has three main pillars: an emphasis on global education, global interactions and global experiences. This would encompass students who study abroad as well as international students on campus, Center for International Studies Sen. Zach Reizes said. “I think this vision should be part of a broader vision that encompasses our sustainability vision and community vision,” Reizes said. “We are hoping this gives us a lens and direction to guide Senate through programming and future thoughts about where university should go.” The bill passed unanimously. More Senate “vision statements” are expected in following meetings. House Bill update The Governmental Affairs commission presented on several bills currently in the Ohio House of Representatives. The first was House Bill 61, which would get rid of the luxury tax that’s placed on feminine hygiene products. There was also an official Senate Bill of Support for the bill, which passed unanimously. Other bills discussed were House Bill 263, a campus free speech act, and House Bill 57, which would require require the use of domestic steel in all newly constructed college and school buildings. Student Senate will vote whether to support these measures at a later meeting, Senate President Landen Lama said in an email. The future of Culinary Services: reusable to-go boxes The Culinary Services Development Committee Delegation said that the next step to improve sustainability is to introduce reusable to-go boxes that would replace the compostable ones that Culinary Services currently uses. The reusable to-go boxes would be a $4 charge that could be paid along with your meal plan, or at any time during the semester with Bobcat Cash. The boxes would also be microwavable. After using the box, you can bring it back and use it again, or drop it off in assigned places for it to be cleaned. Those drop-off places would include all of the dining halls, and possibly West 82 and Front Room. They can’t be placed in residence halls or academic buildings because Culinary Services staff needs to have access to the drop-off points at all times. If you did not pay the $4, you would be able to get a compostable to-go box for 75 cents at any time. Representatives from the delegation said the move to reusable boxes is necessary because there are issues with composting the current to-go boxes. Lots of students do not put the boxes in the proper “compost” bins that are located in a few locations around campus, but rather throw them away in landfill trash cans located in residence halls and in most places on campus. Additionally, there are problems with the boxes jamming up at the compost facility. There will be a Culinary Services meeting that will discuss the initiative further on Nov. 6 at 4:30 p.m. on the first floor of Baker. Fossil Fuel investments: friend or foe? The Senate passed a bill to “call for a review of the Ohio University endowment’s fossil fuel investments and divestment plan formulation.” Environmental Affairs Vice-Commissioner Winter Wilson said the university’s endowment is tied up in several fossil fuel investments. “We know the dangers of fossil fuels, they have direct impacts on people’s health and on our planet,” Wilson said. “We at Ohio University understand these issues, but we’re not just trying to pass this bill based on morals…fossil fuels are also a really bad investment.” Wilson said that the bill ultimately provides an opportunity to create institutional change that would make Ohio U a leader in sustainability. Editor’s Note: A previous version of this report incorrectly identified the Governmental Affairs Commission and incorrectly stated the senate had supported HB 263 and HB 57. The article has been corrected.