Initiative could result in reduced plastic consumption on campus


Chief of Staff Antonio Johnson discusses the hiring process for the director of mass transit Sunday in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room.

By Dan Doren

DeKALB — NIU could reduce their plastic usage by 360,000 pounds per month under an SA initiative.

The SA Senate approved a resolution to recognize No Plastic November, an initiative that will encourage the NIU community to abstain from single-use plastics, in a 19-0 vote during its Sunday meeting.

Environmental Affairs Committee Chairperson Daniel Teboda, author of the resolution, said participation in No Plastic November from all students, faculty and staff could save more than 360,000 pounds of plastic throughout the month.

“One of the big things [the committee and I] talked about was using reusable straws,” he said. “I know people use a lot of plastic straws, so people can use polyester straws [and] metal straws.”

Deputy Speaker Sabrina Self said the committee is promoting an app called JouleBug, which provides users with group challenges that encourage sustainable living choices.

“We are currently … getting in the process of having an NIU community tab, so people can post pictures of using their reusable water bottle or post pictures of taking their glass jar to the grocery store,” she said. “That kind of helps with that motivational aspect.”

Teboda said taking pictures with the app allows it to track how much plastic is being saved by the user. At the end of the month, an SA tab will be created, so participants can submit their results to the SA and the amounts can be totaled up.

The JouleBug app is free for download in the Apple Store and Google Play.

Other Business

The SA Senate approved $700 in supplemental funds for NIU’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers in a 20-0 vote.

NSBE’s mission is to graduate more culturally responsible black engineers and prepare them for success in the professional world, according to its website.

The money will go toward funding transportation to NSBE’s fall regional conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to the resolution.

“[The fall regional conference is] for students to pretty much just have a great way to network with different employers,” Jennifer Oduwole, treasurer for NIU’s chapter of NSBE, said.

In addition, there were four cabinet reports from the Chief of Staff, Director of Advertising, Director of Cultural Affairs and Director of Student Life.

Chief of Staff Antonio Johnson gave an update on the Director of Mass Transit selection process and said he interviewed an SA senator who applied for the position more than a week ago. He did not disclose the identity of that senator. The senator will ultimately be hired, he said.

The Director of Mass Transit oversees the operations of the Huskie Line, adapted transportation services and the Huskie Safe Line, according to SA bylaws.

Director of Advertising Geowayne Williams-Mays displayed six potential SA logos, from which one would be chosen. The final option, a black and white seal design, received the most positive responses from senators.

Director of Cultural Affairs Rhaya Vaughn said she’s been working on a leadership luncheon series with the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“The point of this luncheon is to professionally develop the leaders of multicultural organizations on campus,” she said. “We’re just waiting to get feedback on that, to move forward for the semester.”

Director of Student Life David Skowronski said he’s been working with Meg Junk, coordinator for signature programs and events administration, to have a more active role on the social events committee, which he said will be revising the off-campus social events policy.

“I’ve been trying to be informed with the current policy,” he said. “Then, when the time comes, they can be sure that we have some influence on those revisions and that that process is very transparent.”