SGA discusses CocaCola pouring rights contract, new RSO application, and UMass Becoming a Vape Free Campus at Second SGA meeting

This was the organization’s second meeting of the year

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Collegian File Photo

By Sophia Gardner, Collegian Correspondent

On Monday night, the University of Massachusetts Student Government Association discussed several issues, including the monopoly of CocaCola on Campus, the new Registered Student Organization (RSO) application airing Thursday, and the tobacco free campus also becoming a vape-free campus.

This was the second time that the organization met this year in the Campus Center, with roughly 70 attendees.

The SGA announced that it is beginning its first year of working with UMass For The Kids, an RSO on campus which raises money for the Baystate Children’s Hospital.

Another key topic for the evening was UMass’ pouring rights contract with CocaCola.

The Food Justice Campaign, a part of the External Communications and Outreach Committee, has been looking into changing or removing UMass’ contract with CocaCola because of the company’s unsustainability and incompatibility with UMass’ values.

“We are upholding a corporation that is contributing to the climate emergency in a major sense,” said Barkha Bhandari, a senator for the class of 2022, and Co-Campaign and Advocacy Coordinator for the Center for Education Policy and Advocacy.

However, according to other senator present, changing the contact is difficult to maneuver for several reasons.

First, UMass gets a lot of money from its CocaCola contract, and changing or eliminating the contract could create a lack of funding and potentially a raise in tuition.

The contract does not expire for another four years, so the SGA has time to continue to discuss the best course of action.

The RSO application airs Thursday and can be found on Campus Pulse. This application allows student groups to apply to become an SGA funded organization.

Also during the meeting, it was announced that the Health Council Of Faculty Senate has expanded the campus from being a tobacco free campus to additionally being a vape free campus, and are in the process of starting to enforce the change: “That group of students and administrators is working with residential life to help create awareness of this on campus,” said Kyle Kendall, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

The last noteworthy item on the agenda was an amendment to the bylaws Title III, chapter 15.

This amendment was necessary because the bylaw previously stated that the Secretary of University Policy and External Affairs should sit in on the Student Town Advisory Board, which disbanded in 2015.

The board was replaced by the University-Town of Amherst Collaborative, which has been on hiatus for two years. It is unclear how long the Collaborative will stay disbanded for, but it doesn’t seem to be coming back any time soon. “If anything, it’s not coming back this year,” said Sonya Epstein, Secretary of University Policy and External Affairs.

Instead of sitting in on the Student Town Advisory board, the Secretary of University Policy and External Affairs will be required to stay in bimonthly contact with the town of Amherst’s government officials, and sit in on any town boards, advisories or councils that would be beneficial.

Sophia Gardner can be reached at [email protected]