Plants, healthy food options and Victor E. Viking, Northern Kentucky University’s mascot, were on the agenda for the Student Government Association’s March 21 meeting. The Senate had the first reading of three resolutions that call for more plants in academic buildings, more vegetarian and vegan meal options and a new suit for Victor.
But before senators read their proposed resolutions, President Kevin Golden asked SGA members to reach out to Kentucky legislators in Frankfort to remind them that education-funding is important. Golden cited the medicare budget short-fall in Kentucky, and voiced concern that higher education may be a place legislators decide to make cuts.
“We have to protect what we have because we’re already lean as it is,” Golden said.
In accordance with NKU’s “Go Green” initiative, SGA read a resolution that seeks to increase plants in common areas in buildings. Citing a recent study, SGA says that having more plants in the university will make students healthier.
“[Plants] reduce fatigue, coughing, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 percent, partially by increasing humidity and decreasing dust,” according to a study conducted by the Norwegian University of Agriculture.
Larry Blake, assistant vice president of facilities management, said plants would be “feasible” in buildings that get enough natural light, but NKU does not have enough money or staff to maintain extra plants in the buildings.
“If not properly maintained, their potting material can actually add to the mold count in the building’s air,” Blake said. “For the most part, buildings like the Student Union with lots of natural light or buildings with large glass areas or skylights would be good candidates for consideration. However, significant annual investment would be required to add a meaningful number of plants.”
SGA is also asking for more vegetarian and vegan food options on campus. SGA is asking Chartwells, the on-campus food provider, to create a way for NKU students, faculty and staff to submit their own vegetarian and vegan food options, and for these meals to be available at prices comparable to meals containing meat and other animal products.
According to the resolution, Chartwells offers “Veggie Patch” food options, but, if passed, the resolution would “increase student, faculty and staff interaction” and give more options, according to the resolution.
SGA also read a resolution asking Northern Kentucky University to purchase another Victor Viking suit so the mascot can appear at more than one event at one time. It says that this would eliminate conflicts such as the one in 2010 when Victor couldn’t be at the NCAA Division II men’s soccer championship game because he was at the men’s and women’s basketball games.
The resolution cited the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as an example, saying they have three different mascot suits and they are considered a benchmark university for NKU.
The Viking suit is five years old now, and “dilapidated and in a state of disrepair,” according to the resolution. A new suit is estimated to cost $7,000.
Story by Cassie Stone