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UNL student govt. passes resolution to end Husker balloon release; cites environmental concerns

Posted at 2:39 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 17:47:26-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN), the student government at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), announced on Tuesday in a news release that it unanimously supports a resolution to encourage the university community to stop balloon releases on campus and at Husker football games.

“We, the Association of Students at the University of Nebraska, have an ethical responsibility to preserve and shape a world for the next generation of Nebraskans,” said ASUN Senator Kat Woerner, who authored the resolution and is a senior majoring in Economics, Environmental Studies and Natural Resource Economics. "Traditions do have an important role at Nebraska, but no tradition should be given priority over our researchers who are worried about the rising cost of helium and shortages in the future.”

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This is the second resolution passed by ASUN in the past two years. The student government said that the first resolution passed in Spring 2021. Along with this, UNL's student body voted in favor of replacing the balloons at Husker football games in the spring 2020 election.

ASUN said that the tradition dates back to the 1960s and has been the source of pollution via thousands of balloons a year which land in waterways, fields, homes, and habitats even as far away as New York.

The student government expressed concern that "the damage to wildlife such as turtles, birds, and deer who mistake the balloons for food is why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a statement urging people to stop releasing balloons and also why numerous states, cities, and even countries have passed laws to ban and enforce penalties for balloons releases including Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia."

“The harm caused to the environment by this tradition and the impacts it has on our reputation as a University cannot be ignored any longer,” said Skylar Hanson, Senior Human Resource Management major at UNL.

The students argue that UNL is the only Big 10 school along with the only university in the country that still does mass balloon releases. The last institute of higher education before UNL was Clemson University, which went on to receive the national championship the year they retired the tradition.

“There is clearly a growing consensus among students that it is time for us to part with this particular tradition,” added Ivan Molina, Junior Political Science major at UNL.

SEE MORE: Environmental group urges Nebraska fans to stop releasing balloons

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