February 12, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 74  

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Greenpeace to the USC: don’t spray-paint snow

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff
Tim Toplak/Gazette
GENUINE CAMPAIGNING, OR POLLUTION? Fears of pollution abound as prospective student politicos dirty the environment in their unquenchable thirst for political power.

Some University Students’ Council candidates have been spray-painting the snow with their names, something that does not sit well in the stomachs of people who hate burning holes in the ozone layer, like saving whales and are against clubbing baby seals.

The USC chief returning officer, James Guttman, said the issue of candidates spray painting snow on campus would be a concern for Western’s physical plant department.

“We have not been approached by people that I am aware of,” said Dave Riddell, associate VP-physical plant and capital services, adding the candidates should be using non-toxic paints to advertise.

“We’re not big on allowing any external advertising here; we have a beautiful campus,” Riddell noted, indicating a need to find a balance between supporting student activities, such as USC elections, and maintaining a reasonable level of advertising on campus.

He also stated he would be bringing his concerns with the snow painting on campus to the CRO.

Presidential hopeful Patrick Harris admitted he does not know if his campaign team was using toxic spray paints, but would be looking into the matter. “If our campaign is using it, then we’ll get rid of it.”

“We’ve got a beautiful campus here at Western. I’m not going to deface it, even temporarily, as the snow will melt,” explained presidential candidate Steve Learmonth. “I hope they’re being responsible about it both environmentally and the look of the campus.”

“What I’m trying to do is run an environmentally friendly campaign,” said USC presidential candidate Dave Molenhuis, noting he was not using any spray-paints to put his name on snow banks or littering the campus by excessively distributing flyers .

“I, like the other candidates, did partake in spray-painting activities,” said Kathy Robineau, one of the presidential contenders. “I’m pretty sure it’s non-toxic. I’m a pretty environmental person.”

“I have spray-painted on the snow, but it was non-toxic — but I’ll be removing it at the end of the campaign,” noted presidential candidate Nick Staubitz, citing the need for candidates to be careful with toxic paints. “It’s one of my concerns.”

“If you want to run for student president, you want to show you’re concerned with broader issues,” said Andrew Male, communications co-ordinator for Greenpeace, adding the issue also demonstrate society’s understanding of environmental issues. “Why would you need to spray-paint the snow?”



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