ASUO Executive hosts panel in response to Shasta littering incident
Talk about the infamous incident that happened at Shasta Lake this month continued with an hour-and-half long panel hosted by the newly elected ASUO Executive today in Pacific 30.
Seven panelists, including Greek Life members, environmental activist student and ASUO members, took on ten questions from ASUO Internal VP Zach Lusby on the matter. The event attracted about 15 students and campus members.
Several panelists emphasized the importance of educating participants prior to the event.
President of the Sigma Chi fraternity, Ted Pollack said up to two years ago, the Oregon State University Greek community had the police chief come to talk about the impact of their actions before heading to Shasta.
“You have people that have very minimum education on the environmental impact that they have, and you have people who have better understanding of it and just don’t care,” Pollack said. “By educating people right before the event, it will refresh people’s mind.”
But several panelists insisted that the problem should not be entirely blamed on UO Greek Life members.
“Not only members of Fraternity and Sorority went there,” UO student and Envision Magazine Publisher Anna Kathryn Sengupta said. “I agree though, that it does come down to students that were there, and people that left things there are the most responsible […] but it’s not exclusive to Fraternity and Sorority Life.”
ASUO President Quinn Haaga said other universities who participated at the event, such as University of California, Davis and OSU, had the support from their administrations with medic boats.
She said UO administration will not get involved anytime soon, but she plans to take the issue head on next year by requiring registration and hosting educational panels.
Delta Tau Delta member and former ASUO Senator Nakai Corral was one of the captains at Shasta the weekend the trashing happened. He said the golden rule at Shasta is “to listen to the captain.”
He said students usually get to Shasta on Thursday and continue a three-day straight party with drugs and alcohol. Therefore by the morning of Sunday, it is most people’s priority to get out as soon as possible instead of cleaning up the trash.
UO Outdoor Program Director of Operations Dave Villalobos said there’s a lack of knowledge among students about the Shasta event, creating a bad reputation of Greek Life members.
“A lot of people don’t understand what [the panelists] were talking about. I think a lot of students don’t have access to the skills and education of how to navigate of what [the panel] has navigated,” Villalobos said. “It’s set up in a way legally that you can’t be held accountable to it – That’s a problem fundamentally.”
Haaga said she will also establish a sustainability chair within Greek chapters to prevent similar incidents in the future.
“It is not the first time this happened. It’s a big issue in our community and the world, so having designated people who are committed to stay there and clean up makes sure we leave the place nice and clean,” Haaga said.
Lusby encourages students to email him at [email protected] with questions and concerns about the incident.
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