Senators joined forces to create a bylaw that would support the Sustainability Committee’s future projects in Friday’s Student Senate meeting.
At last weeks April 12 meeting, Commissioner of Sustainability Alexi Som and Nick Hofstatter, head of the sustainability fee project, left the meeting furious after the senate decided to no longer include a $5 Sustainability Fee on the upcoming election ballot.
Nonetheless, the tension felt last week had almost completely faded during Friday’s meeting.
“Last week seemed like a nightmare and this week completely flipped around,” Hofstatter told The Channels following Friday’s meeting.
The senate decided to approve the language for a bylaw created by Som after some amendments.
If the bylaw passes, 37.5% of the Student Activities Fee money will be allocated to a sustainability workgroup.
However, this bylaw will only go into effect if the $3 Student Activities Fee on the ballot is approved by students. If passed, the Student Activities Fee will go from $5 to $8, with $5 going directly to the Student Senate.
“This is all dependent if the fee passes,” President Josh Villanueva explained to The Channels following Friday’s meeting. “If the activities fee does not pass it would be important to reevaluate this bylaw.”
Some of the projects consist of expanding the permaculture garden, implementing more Fair Trade items on campus and bringing in more local and healthier food options, all while keeping the cost of food items low in the cafeteria.
All but Student Trustee Kenny Igbechi supported the bylaw.
“I don’t see a reason for this bylaw,” Igbechi said during the meeting. “There is no way to check how the money is being spent.”
Following the meeting, Igbechi told The Channels that he is in support of the Sustainability Committee and its projects, but he is not in support of the senate not having “final say on what project is funded.
“I am totally against channeling student money to a committee without the student board overseeing how the money is spent or having a say on what projects would better suit the student body,” he said.
The chair of the environmental studies department will appoint one member of the staff, faculty, and administration along with four students that will be in charge of managing the funds.
The workgroup will be required to submit a total of four reports to the Student Senate in the academic school year that will explain how the 37.5% of the Student Activities Fee money was spent.
During the meeting, Hofstatter stressed the importance of supporting the bylaw.
“Having a more sustainable campus encourages sustainability throughout individuals lives,” he said. “If we don’t start taking sustainability more seriously in the coming years then we and future generations of our children and their children will suffer.”
The senate will put the proposed bylaw to a vote at its next meeting on April 26.