Facebook group petitions against presidential campaign material waste

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

University Students’ Council elections may have ended over two weeks ago, but presidential campaign material is still lingering around campus " and some Western students are unhappy about it.

“One of the things that drew me to Western in the first place was how beautiful the campus was,” first-year philosophy student Reid McNaughton said.

“Now, to see [campus] littered with this campaign material ... I resent it.”

McNaughton started a Facebook group on Wednesday titled “Those who ran for USC should remove garbage left over from their campaigns!,” which had over 80 members as of Friday evening.

Most of the material left over from the campaigns " such as the wood and paper from campaign signs " is biodegradable, according to EnviroWestern co-ordinator Will Bortolin.

When it comes to cleaning up, Bortolin said campaign teams from losing candidates are not reliable.

“[Emily Rowe] should still have people on her campaign team willing to help,” he said.

“But for the losing teams, there’s sadness, bitterness ... a lot of people got involved because they wanted to be part of a winning team and now they aren’t involved [anymore].”

Much of the leftover campaign material appears to be from Rowe’s campaign, McNaughton noted.

“I know it’s not only her stuff,” he said.

“But you’d think that especially the people who won the elections would be going around cleaning up after themselves to set an example and demonstrate they are committed to Western.”

Rowe said there were challenges in the clean-up process.

“Immediately after the elections my campaign team made a valiant effort to remove all campaign materials from campus,” Rowe said.

These efforts included sweeping all on-campus buildings and off-campus locations for posters, as well as collecting picket signs to be reused, Rowe noted.

“Some of our materials are buried in snow and have to be removed once the ground isn’t frozen,” she said in reference to the sign remnants on UC Hill.

Rowe’s fellow candidate, Ashley Bushfield, took some preventative measures with her campaign materials.

“My team and I made a map of where all of my signs were located,” she said.

In addition, Bushfield said her signs were also staked into snow and not the ground to avoid destroying lawns and reduce the risk of damaging underground utility lines.

Andrew Beach, another candidate in the presidential race, cited the importance of collecting materials

“The materials should be cleaned up as promptly as possible or the USC should consider enforcing Bylaw 2’s provisions.”

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