Student gov’t seeks changes to NYU academic calendar

The Student Government Assembly addressed academic calendar revisions and dining sustainability at its third meeting of the semester.


Manasa Gudavalli

The Student Government Assembly held its third meeting of the semester. One of the issues discussed was sustainability in dining halls. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

Maria Freyre, Staff Writer

NYU’s student government discussed revisions to the academic calendar and promoting sustainability measures at dining halls at its third meeting of the fall 2021 semester on Nov. 18.

Secularizing the academic calendar

Robert Lopez-Irizarry, the student representative of the task force reviewing the calendar, detailed revisions the committee hopes to make to NYU’s existing calendar guidelines. The task force is looking to prioritize student wellness days and breaks.

While potential changes to the calendar will only come into full effect between fall 2024 and summer 2027, the task force’s suggestions will be presented to the University Senate’s Academic Affairs Committee by March next year. The task force is aiming to make Election Day a university holiday, add more breaks and study days, schedule a consistent start to the semester after Labor Day, and ensure that commencement and graduation events do not occur during the week of final exams.

“A lot of times, departments will schedule commencement-specific department events during finals week,” Lopez-Irizarry said. “That causes a huge issue, obviously, for so many students that are going to be graduating.” 

Tzivia Appleman, the alternate senator at-large representing Jewish students and women of faith, asked if the task force would consider scheduling graduation events around religious holidays. In 2021, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the College of Arts and Sciences rescheduled their commencements to avoid conflicting with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. 

“The schools didn’t put it in the context of religious holidays, at least based on what I could gather,” Lopez-Irizarry said. “They want to focus on NYU being a secular institution.”

Minimizing food container waste

Laura Piraino, NYU Eats’ sustainability director, said the Third North and Downstein dining halls are piloting a new take-out system called Ozzi that aims to combat single-use food container waste.

After paying a $5 deposit, students are given a reusable Ozzi container that they can use to carry their food out of dining halls. Dirty containers can be swapped out for clean ones at participating dining halls. NYU Eats will clean dirty containers and return them to circulation. NYU Eats is considering expanding the Ozzi program to other dining halls and NYU’s Brooklyn campus.

The next SGA meeting of the semester will take place on Dec. 2 to vote on internal student government policies. 

A version of this article appeared in the Nov. 22, 2021, e-print edition. Contact Maria Freyre at [email protected].