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Grant Stover

Student Senate candidates include environmental issues in platform, but BARE is the best ticket

A Post columnist believes the BARE student senate ticket is the right choice for Ohio University students.

Student senate campaign season is here again and thankfully, all tickets have ideas that can help further a more sustainable campus. That is exciting. So let’s jump right into what the tickets hope to achieve environmentally.

First there is Serving Our Students (SOS) with presidential candidate Gabby Bacha. SOS outlined their environmental goal, which includes making sure new residence halls are LEED certified. Tony Piccioni, the presidential candidate for Phoenix, also highlighted this as a goal. Both parties see this as an action that can be done right now to improve sustainability.

Bacha and Piccioni spoke to me about clean energy. Bacha said the natural gas pipeline is not a long-term solution, while Piccioni believes it is a step in the right direction due to the MACT deadline requiring Ohio University to stop using coal by January 31, 2016.

Olivia Wallace, the vice presidential candidate for BARE, sees her main environmental concerns as bringing renewable energy to campus and socially responsible investments. Wallace said she wants to work with people in Athens and organizations like OUCAN to further the dialogue about renewable energy on campus that would drastically improve reaching OU’s carbon neutrality goal. The BARE ticket also plans to continue fighting for the responsible use of university money.

Student Nation presidential candidate Ben Mathes wants to implement a carbon tax on the university. A carbon tax puts a price on the emissions of fossil fuels and creates incentive not only for responsible energy use, but also incentivizes switching to clean energy. Mathes eventually wants to see clean energy on campus, but is worried about how the cost will affect students.

After speaking with these candidates, BARE and Student Nation seem to want to work on the most pressing environmental issues at Ohio University. LEED Certification is important, but this is also something the university is actively doing, unlike taking action on the Climate Action Plan.

Overall, BARE has won my vote. Their commitment to not only further clean energy, denounce the natural gas pipeline and to continue to fight for socially responsible investing are the environmental reasons I stand with them. Resolutions have already been passed through student senate and graduate student senate supporting the transparency of the university endowment, and Wallace is also supportive of a carbon tax that will make clean energy even imperative on campus.

The environmental part of each platform is important, but what can senate get done in what is basically seen as a powerless body? The answer is not much. Most students realize this and that is why BARE wants to continue to organize and build student power so that our voices will be heard. I hope the state of education today is not what it will be in our future. Voting for BARE is voting to fight for a better future. I want to leave OU a better place than when I found it and voting BARE is taking that first step.


Grant Stover is a sophomore studying English, a member of the Environmental Committee on Student Senate and a member of the Sierra Coalition at Ohio University. Email him at or find him on Twitter at @grant_stover.

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