Note: This article is part of a series reviewing the work Senate committees have done over the past year.
For sophomore Firas Suqi, the outgoing chair of the Student Senate Sustainability Committee, there was a lot to do in the 2010-2011 academic year.
“In regards to goals … there were a lot,” said Suqi, whose objectives included things such as restricting the Green Fee and wrapping up incomplete projects from the previous year.
According to senior Student Senate President Samantha Claypool, a senate committee’s main duty is to respond to the charges of the Knox community. However, receiving a charge is not always a common occurrence.
“Charges don’t really come in that often,” Claypool said. “[Committees] ideally should be pro-active and looking for problems and solving problems for the general students.”
Suqi recalled only a few miscellaneous charges for the Sustainability Committee. As a result, the group’s main work over the past year was with the Green Fee and working to set up a composting system.
Suqi’s first goal at the start of fall term was to change the long-term focus of the Green Fee.
“What I wanted to do was to make the green fee economically sustainable,” he said. “Because [leftover funds] roll over, I wanted to put in the stipulations that we recommend to save five percent.”
Suqi envisioned the saved five percent accumulating from year to year, making a larger overall fund to draw from.
“I just wanted it to go towards big projects instead of smaller projects—substantial projects,” he said.
The committee also continued the work started by last year’s ad hoc Composting Committee.
“Our job was to revitalize the Composting Committee and to get them to start reporting to us a little bit,” Suqi said.
Although the money from this year’s Green Fee would not have been enough to set up a composting system, the idea received support from the Special Meeting for the Use of the Restricted Fund (SMURF) and was able to be paid for.
“That’s what we spent a great chunk of our money on,” Suqi said.
In addition to their larger projects, the committee funded or helped carry out several others throughout the year. They offered a $50 gift card to Seminary Street to whoever could collect the most recyclables, and worked with the Presidential Task Force on Sustainability to clean up cigarette butts around campus. Other projects funded by the Green Fee include paying for a student worker to care for the Knox community garden and buying more newspaper racks for The Knox Student.
In the future, Suqi hopes to see greater awareness of the Green Fee to encourage greater use by the general student body.
“We have to increase our advertising of the fee,” he said.