ASUC Senate discusses Cal Dining sustainability, International Office location at meeting

Kate Finman/Staff

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The ASUC Senate met Wednesday night for a short meeting to discuss Cal Dining initiatives and executive updates.

The meeting started with a presentation from students working on Cal Dining and sustainability initiatives from the Residential and Student Service Programs, including information about their newly established internship program, how they are making the residence halls more environmentally efficient and different competitions they are holding to encourage students to participate.

According to Environment Initiatives Coordinator Samantha Lubow, Cal Dining’s sourcing is about 24% sustainable. She added that she hopes the hall will cut current meat consumption in half, which would have similar effects on greenhouse gas emissions if the services were completely vegetarian. To do this, Lubow said Cal Dining has started a Plant Forward Recipe Challenge, which challenges chefs to create new sustainable and good-tasting dishes that may be added to next year’s menus.

“One thing that we’ve learned about this is that the food has to be delicious,” Lubow said at the meeting. “If we can’t serve food that is delicious, then we’re not going to be able to reach these (sustainability) goals.”

Executive Vice President Andy Theocharous’s update brought controversy to the ASUC Senate floor, as discussions regarding the relocation of the UC Berkeley International Office, or BIO, to the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union from International House left senators with disagreements.

Theocharous said BIO could no longer be located within International House, and that moving the office to the student union could be a means of making revenue. Several senators, including Romario, Nicole Anyanwu and Media Sina, responded with concerns about the morality of taking revenue from the office that could be used for scholarships. The same senators expressed apprehension as to whether organizations currently situated in the student union, such as the Queer Alliance and Resource Center and the bridges Multicultural Resource Center, would feel pushed out, and brought up if there was a better location for the office.

Senator Evina Wang said the new location, located in the Berkeley SkyDeck building, is currently being discussed by campus. She added that the location is not convenient for most students.

The ASUC Senate approved the nomination of campus freshman James Weichert as ASUC elections council chair. It did not consider any other bills.

Kate Finman is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.