May 23, 2019 | 66° F

RUSA to give students reusable bags for takeout

Photo by Brendan Brightman |

During the Rutgers University Student Assembly meeting last week, members voted to push back the deadline for the Internal Affairs Committee to release allocations. 

The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) voted to pass a measure that will replace plastic bags used at dining hall takeouts with canvas bags students will receive at the start of their first semester.

University Affairs Committee Chair Dominique Little said the bag is comparable to the water bottle that RUSA provides first-year students at the start of their first semesters.

“We’re trying something similar to (the companion bottle). Instead of the companion bottle, this will be a reusable bag. The reusable bag would get rid of all the plastic bags at takeout, similar to how we got rid of all the paper cups and all the plastic lids and straws that were at takeout,” Little said.

The bag would fit two takeout containers in it, as well as a space for a companion bottle on the side.

While the bag would replace all plastic bags at takeout, other eateries, such as the Cook Student Center and the Douglass Student Center, will continue to use plastic bags. Should a student lose their bag, Little said, they can buy a replacement.

“This bill goes through the effects of plastic bags, why we need to get rid of them and how the reusable bag will replace those harmful effects of plastic with positive effects,” Little said.

The weekly meeting also addressed an initiative taken by the Rutgers football team. Brenda Tracy, survivor of a 1998 gang rape, spoke with the team. Tracy is the founder of the #SetTheExpectation campaign, which is dedicated to combating sexual and physical violence through education and direct engagement with coaches and young men involved in high school and collegiate athletic programs, according to the campaign’s website.

The Rutgers football team plans to dedicate a game to her, as well as the #SetTheExpectation campaign, said Cole Murphy, an external representative and member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

“We had the pleasure of having Brenda Tracy come and speak with the football team. We met with our coach today, and we talked about how administration is going to dedicate one of our games to the #SetTheExpectation movement, and also wear a purple and turquoise ribbon on our helmets,” Murphy said.

Also addressed at the meeting was a compromise that pushes back the deadline for the Internal Affairs Committee (IA) to release pertinent allocations information received via an audit of RUSA.

The new bill (S19-02) was written by Nick Pellitta, chairman of the RUSA Allocations Board, and Nick Tharney, the parliamentarian of RUSA.

The compromise is an amendment to the original bill, which mandated the RUSA Allocations Board release cap sheets, which are documents that govern the amount of money provided to student organizations.

In order to increase transparency, multiple extensions have been provided to the IA and the RUSA Allocations Board. The original amendment increased the amount of time for the Allocations Board to review its allocations process in order to provide increased transparency.

“The assembly clearly felt, when they passed the last bill (F18-10) extending the release of the cap sheets, that they wanted a full investigation,” Tharney said. “We figured that we ought to make sure that we have all of the necessary information, so that we can report back to the assembly.” 

The previous deadline, Feb. 15, has been moved to Sept. 20.

While the compromise passed with little resistance, some students voiced their concern with the second deadline extension. Jason Yu, an external representative for RUSA, expressed his concerns.

“We passed RAPTA (RUSA Allocations Process Transparency Act) last spring, 2018, with an overwhelming majority. The Allocation Board had eight months to review the allocations process, and they still haven’t done anything. They should be done by now. Isn’t this enough? It’s a year now. I think it should be enough. We don’t need another seven months of this,” Yu said.

Jake McGowan

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