Campus / News / Student Senate / October 30, 2008

Student Senate discusses sustainability, internet

Last Thursday, Student Senate heard a report from Sustainability Committee Chair Abby Pardick. Presenting a Power-Point slide show entitled “Creating a Culture of Sustainability,” Pardick handed out copies of the ‘Sustainability Handbook for Knox,’ an officially branded pamphlet that Pardick wrote in conjunction with the college, printed on 100 percent recycled paper.

According to the handbook, sustainability, as defined by the Student Senate Sustainability Committee and the Presidential Task Force on Sustainability, means:

“We at Knox College recognize that our actions influence the environments of our local and global communities. In order to explore, understand, and build relationships with these communities, we must strive to become more sustainable. Being sustainable requires us to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future humans and other species to meet their own needs. By fostering a culture of sustainability, we at Knox accept our responsibility to configure our educational programs, institutional and social structures, and economic actions to preserve the ecosystems of the Earth.”

Pardick also went over how to recycle on campus, how to get involved on campus, how the Green Fee works, and current and future sustainability ideas, all of which are explained in the handbook.

Next, Technology Chair senior Brady Myers spoke to the chamber on updates to the possibility of an all-wireless internet campus.

“I [have] strong positive feelings towards moving the campus to a ‘no ports-per-room’ [solution],” Myers said, “where it’s all wireless, like I mentioned two weeks ago. What would happen is the school would save a half million dollars because they wouldn’t have to replace those network switches. We would put part of that money towards improving the wireless network, which is already getting a total overhaul. We would also put some of that money towards subsidizing wireless devices for those [students] who only have desktop computers.”

Senator Sam Claypool, a sophomore, questioned Myers on what the savings would be if they just left one internet port active in each room, like the proposal Senate heard last year suggested.

“We’d save a quarter-million if we just left one port,” Myers said. “Looking at the numbers now, we have 85 percent of students using wireless, and only 15 percent using wired… It’s a matter of lack of faith in the wireless network, which is understandable… but we’re replacing all those access points, and on paper those access points have four times the range of the current ones.”

Myers addressed security concerns of an expanded wireless network by saying that the system that Knox uses is the same one used by the Department of Defense, and that no one had broken that encryption yet.

Pardick brought up the possibility of health concerns from a stronger wireless network.

“Has there been discussion about the dangers of wireless to your health?” Pardick said.

“I don’t have a study in my hand, but… When you turn on a radio that you’ve got in your hand, it’s picking up [waves] whether you hold it here or here or a mile away,” Myers said. “You’re picking up radio all over campus; you’re picking up cell phones all over campus.”

Safety and Services Chair junior Trevor Sorensen promised to look into the health effects of the wireless network.

The discussion ended in a straw poll vote from the chamber, which resulted in 24 voting for the new system, and five voting against.

Senate also approved the creation of a new club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as well as approved requests for $750 and $95.49 to Alpha Phi Omega and the Archery Club, respectively.

After fund approvals this week, the Student Senate Discretionary Fund had $28,104.84 remaining for the year.

Student Senate sessions are held every Thursday at 7 p.m., and are currently held in the Round Room of CFA, though that location is subject to change.

For more information about sustainability or the Green Fee, contact

Andrew Polk

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