By David Wilson
Associated Students Inc. has made a commitment to making Cal Poly Pomona a more sustainable campus and is currently working with student organizations and the university on projects such as composting at the Bronco Student Center and placing green walls around the parking structure.
ASI laid plans for sustainability as one of its goals in the 2016-17 Policy Agenda.
ASI President Uriah Sanders proposed student government’s continued support of sustainability on campus.
Sanders has a background in sustainability, serving as a co-vice president of the Green Team last year.
“To me, sustainability means making good use of what you have,” said Sanders. “Tactics that you can implement that make you more efficient and environmentally friendly.”
Thanks to The Green Initiative Fund, ASI has approximately $100,000 in available funds for student organizations on campus to undertake projects that involve sustainability.
According to Sanders, funds specifically designed to go toward sustainability projects have gone untapped in recent years, but now it is his goal to see as much, if not all that money used by sustainability clubs on campus.
“I told Jessica [Shahad], ‘Please get rid of all that money,'” said Sanders. “I want that line item to be zero because we need to use it.”
ASI Secretary of Sustainability Jessica Shahad believes sustainability is a combination of social, economic and humanistic aspects.
“To be considered sustainable, everybody’s condition of life is equal,” said Shahad.
One of the projects Shahad and Sanders are trying to begin is composting at the Bronco Student Center, which is already taking place at the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex.
The project would focus on the pre-consumer waste of all the restaurants in the BSC for collection at the end of the day.
“Pre-consumer is when you peel your oranges and then you throw them away,” Shahad said. “The goal would be to be able to separate out their waste.”
ASI is working with the university to put that plan in action with the help of a third-party organization.
Sanders is hoping composting at the BSC will be in place by the end of this year.
ASI also put in an application for the Greenovation Fund given by the California State Student Association to one of the 23 California State Universities each year.
The fund would provide $15,000 for each project the school applies for.
If Cal Poly is chosen, the fund would go toward the construction of green walls around the parking structure.
“(Green walls) collect sunlight, and they don’t require as much water, so think of it as like a living wall,” Shahad said. “It’s not only sustainable but its aesthetically pleasing.”
Along with composting and green walls, other possible projects are currently in the works.
Clubs have proposed projects like solar panel installation, and a bike sharing program is pending.
“The great thing about this fund is that all the pressure doesn’t necessarily have to be on ASI,” said Sanders. “We have all these super smart clubs and organizations out there that are passionate.”
With money readily available, ASI is working to get the message out to the campus community at large.
Shahad has done presentations about sustainability and the funds available at housing facilities on campus, and Sanders has spoken to different councils and organizations around campus.
Shahad is also working on a marketing campaign to get the word to more students.
“Whether it’s for their senior project or it’s something that they’re very passionate about, if they’re really interested in doing something and they don’t necessarily have the funding to get it started, we can help them with that,” said Shahad.
ASI will also be holding events on campus to raise awareness about sustainability efforts on campus. Earth Week, which will take place during Spring Quarter, will attempt to engage the housing community with a recycling drive.
Sanders is excited by the progress made so far on sustainability considering Cal Poly Pomona’s late start, as the application for the Greenovation Fund was due early in Fall Quarter.
Similarly, Shahad has been encouraged by progress on several fronts after getting accustomed to her new position last quarter.
Both believe more can be done to fulfill the policy agenda goal.
For example, Shahad is looking into the school’s water usage on lawns and gardens around campus to figure out ways to conserve water.
“What I’m going to try and do is collect statistics about exactly how much water we are using,” said Shahad.
In addition, Sanders has a personal system to track how ASI is addressing goals from the policy agenda.
“I highlight things we haven’t even touched in red, things that are almost there in yellow and things that are completed with green and then I put a little explanation of how we solved it,” said Sanders. “There is always more that we can be doing.”
As ASI works with the university and organizations on campus, individual students can make an impact in their own way. Sanders suggests getting involved with an organization on campus or alerting ASI to areas that can be improved.
“Your student government is your representatives,” said Sanders. “Individual students don’t have to [do] all the work. If you see something and you’r like, ‘That could be a good idea,’ then you can come and let us know.”
“In my opinion, it’s the little things that matter,” said Shahad. “For instance, try not to use plastic water bottles. Buy a refillable water bottle. Just be mindful of how much you’re using in terms of water, electricity and gas.”
Courtesy of Sungah Choi
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