Student suggests more mission statement action

posted in: Opinion | 0

Pacific University is a changing place. As members of the student body, we must be a part of this change to make our campus a better place for future students and ourselves. Changes must be fought for, though; for change to occur it can only come from within. I hope to start this change with three issues that I have gathered from students and faculty on our campus. These issues to be addressed are the Real Food on Campus and Bistro run by Aramark, the lack of edible food and abundance of plant life, and the free advertising given by our school to U.S. Bank through our Boxer Card and mailing lists.

Pacific’s mission statement states that we “embrace sustainability and use the university as a learning laboratory for sustainable practices.” Pacific University is a place that has embraced the ideologies of sustainability. Now as a student body we must become empowered to demand the implementation of environmentally-friendly practices. As a campus we must support our community and in Forest Grove that means the agricultural industry. We can improve our community, whether this is attending the local farmers market or picking up trash around town.

First, I propose that Pacific makes a decision to change the current RFoC and Bistro by deciding not to renew the current contract with Aramark. Alternatively, Pacific could run its own dining service, similar to an executive kitchen in a hotel. This would allow freedom for the chef and management to work directly with local farmers and food distributors to gain a better quality and food variety. Connecting local farms to the Pacific RFoC will allow for the food waste loop to be closed by sending our food waste back to the farmers who supply the cafeteria. This will contribute to helping local farmers in this hard economic time by securing a sustainable living. For the betterment of our community we have to part ways with Aramark to allow for Pacific to grow within the local community.

Recently, Aramark’s corporate office has informed managers they no longer work with the Real Food Challenge, a group on campus and nationally that works with students to push Aramark for better food quality and diversity. Now that it is cutting ties with these student groups, our students should push to cut ties with Aramark. Aramark is not helping Pacific student’s vitality grow or to nourish Forest Grove as a whole.

Another example of a grievance towards Aramark’s Bistro is the high prices. Unless you have declining balance it is twice as expensive to go to the Bistro than it is to go to Safeway and near the same to go to Mama Jiah’s.

Secondly, I would like to address the campus landscape. I understand that the school grounds are a recruitment tool, but fruit trees and bushes will add beauty and purpose. This means a beautification of the campus by adding edible plants and filling in the multi-thousand dollar bark mulch beds with plants that are native to the area and/or have purpose. I hope to work with CASSS to promote a pilot project of edible plants that could grow around campus. Can you imagine grabbing an apple or a handful of berries on the way to class?

Lastly, I would like to address the connection of Pacific University to U.S. bank through the Boxer Card and the Bank of the West ATM in the U.C. The majority of the school does not have Bank of the West, which charges on both ends of the transaction. I propose we change to credit union machines in the University Center, which work on a co-op network and do not charge fees. U.S. Bank enjoys the luxury of free advertising by our school through the Boxer Card which is also offered as a credit card. The Boxer Card should be simply an identification card and building key.

The mission statement has many ambitions the student body should grasp ahold of, holding our school accountable for these statements and implementing them. One of our main statements is to “Value diversity, both in culture and opinion and encourage an attitude of openness and discovery among students, faculty and staff.”  Another is civic engagement, which is stated as, “Challenge campus members to involve themselves in the needs of their communities, whether locally or globally.”  I challenge the students and faculty to become involved in our community whether it is changing yourself or the world.

Petitions to gauge the feelings of the campus as a whole will soon follow these proposals. In addition to this article I have distributed a letter to the university senior officers as well as others in the administration and faculty. I am confident these proposals will happen and help lead Pacific in a positive direction.

Today our curriculum promotes sustainability, but we must continue to grow and promote innovative solutions to the major problems of our future.

–Zachariah Cohen


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