By Spenser Hickey
Published October 15, 2013.
“It’s like a two-year-old putting on clown shoes.”
That’s senior Erika Kazi’s view on the effectiveness of the university’s current system of handling sustainability efforts; Kazi is one of two composting interns now working with concerned students and the Presidential Task Force on Campus Sustainability to carry out such efforts.
According to Professor Tom Wolber, current chair of the sustainability task force, its membership – comprised of faculty, students and staff – has not been decided yet, and they have yet to hold a meeting.
“The problem is that faculty, staff and students come and go and that we don’t know yet for sure who the representatives of the various campus entities will be for this academic year.”
– Tom Wolber
Professor Shari Stone-Mediatore, former chair of the task force, said that the university had made “some important advances in sustainability” including hiring Peter Schantz, the new director of Buildings and Grounds, who will also work to increase energy efficiency on campus.
These efforts were previously handled in part by sustainability coordinator Sean Kinghorn, who worked for the university from March 2011 to June 2013; his salary was paid for by a state grant on energy and conversation.
After the grant funds ran out, university administrators decided to rely on currently employed personnel and two student interns, rather than create a permanent coordinator position and allocate a salary for Kinghorn.
University President Rock Jones said that the Board of Trustees looks to the administration to prepare a budget for review, and so the Board had not taken a position on adding a new position at this time.
“Rather, the Board directed the administration to consider all possible avenues for addressing sustainability on campus as it develops budget models for the future, and to include in future budget reports to the Board an update on sustainability on campus.”
– Rock Jones
Dissatisfied by the lack of a permanent coordinator, senior Karli Amstadt and sophomore Ellen Hughes led a protest last Thursday through Saturday, camping on the Corns lawn with Kazi and a number of other students.
University officials, including President Rock Jones and numerous trustees, said they were impressed by the students’ efforts and are interested in improving sustainability as the budget allows.
Transcript Reporter Breanne Reilly contributed reporting to this article.
Part Two: The Numbers Debate
Part Three: Standing in Solidarity for Sustainability
Part Four: ‘Tent City’
Part Five: ‘A Bandage on the Situation.’
Part Six: ‘You Have Not Seen the Last of Us.’
Sidebar: Digging Through Trash.