ASUN Meeting 11.17

A speaker presents a new sustainability pilot program at UNL during the ASUN meeting in the Platte River Room of the Nebraska Union on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska passed four pieces of legislation at its Wednesday meeting, moving to support the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Recycling Renovation Pilot Project and add a land acknowledgement to ASUN bylaws, website and weekly meetings.

Resolution 7 was passed to provide support for the recycling pilot program following little discussion and a presentation from Morgan Hartman, UNL’s recycling coordinator, during open forum. The program, she said, has been in place since late 2020 and has already shown a 10% drop in the amount of recyclables found in landfill waste from the university. 

The program is now in 11 buildings across campus, Hartman said, and focuses on centrally located, high visibility waste stations. 

“We wanted to kind of test the waters and see what challenges we might run into campus wide,” she said.

Hartman said her hope is to announce what will come next with the program within the next two months. She asked ASUN to be leaders by example when it comes to recycling on campus by following the instructions of the program. 

The biggest goals of the project are to decrease the amount of recyclable materials in landfill waste and reduce the overall amount of landfill waste from the university.

“There’s a lot of desire for this to expand campus wide,” Hartman said, “but one of the things we’re looking at is what we want the containers to look like long term.”

Bylaw Amendment 2, which proposed ASUN read a land acknowledgment during every senate meeting, was passed after considerable discussion and an amendment from Sen. Bhagya Pushkaran, co-chair of the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, to add the statement to ASUN’s website, social media accounts and bylaws

The bylaw amendment was introduced by Sen. Meyri Ibrahim, co-chair of the Campus Life and Safety Committee, and initially would have required the statement be read only during meetings. Sen. Eric Rodene proposed an amendment to add the statement to the website and social media accounts but not read it in meetings, which failed in a voice vote. 

Sen. Zachary Wahab-Cheek spoke out against the bill during discussion, saying it was only words and no action. 

“I don’t believe that this is a quantifiable way to make this a more diverse institution,” he said.

Rodene said he introduced his amendment because attendance has been low at ASUN meetings in recent years, and he believed the internet would have a larger reach. 

Then, with Pushkaran’s amendment, the bylaw amendment passed a roll call vote with only one no and one abstention. Wahab-Cheek voted no, and Sen. Kathryn Fortenberry abstained. 

Several senators encouraged others to read Chancellor Ronnie Green’s email about the Journey for Anti-Racism and Racial Equity Commitment to Action plan, which came out Wednesday morning, and research it. 

ASUN also passed Senate Bill 10, which will provide $187.50 to cover half the cost of a dead week photo booth in Othmer Hall as part of the Engineering Student Advisory Board’s associated de-stress events that week. The booth will be held on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Most College of Engineering students don’t know much about ASUN,” Sen. Seth Caines, chair of the Environmental Sustainability Committee, said. “ So this event helps us reach out to them.” 

The senate also passed Bylaw Amendment 3, which would create a standing Sexual Misconduct Presidential Committee within ASUN. This follows multiple high-profile cases of alleged sexual assaults and weeks of related protests at UNL earlier in the semester. 

External Vice President Patrick Baker announced changes to how senators would be allotted to colleges next year based on student population changes. The College of Arts and Sciences, College of Journalism and Mass Communications and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will all lose one seat in the senate, while the Office of Graduate Studies will gain one seat and the College of Engineering will gain two.

Bylaw Amendment 4, which would have the president, external vice president and internal vice president of ASUN run on the same ticket, was rescinded from the agenda, after Sen. Jake Drake, co-chair of the Campus Life and Safety Committee, said there were issues raised with the legislation’s wording by Marlene Beyke, director of administration for ASUN. Drake said similar legislation will be reintroduced later this academic year. 

Baker said that, if passed, this legislation would then need to be approved by students on the ballot of this spring’s election. 

Haley Mercer and Aleks Glowik were appointed to ASUN as at-large senators.

The next ASUN meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 1, the week following Thanksgiving.