Columns / Discourse / May 7, 2014

Utilize the student sustainability fund

There is a certain narrative to Knox, one defined by a tone of egalitarianism and inclusion, which inevitably draws many of us to call ourselves students here. The history of student engagement, dynamism and progressivism exists in the very roots of our institution.

This is why I am so incredibly proud of the commitment that Knox students made in 2008, and every Knox student has made since, to donate a small amount of their personal money to the Student Sustainability Fund. Truly it is a movement and a resource made by the students, for the students.

In recent years, however, there has been a noticeable decline in the amount of applications submitted to the Student Senate Sustainability Committee for funding. This is truly a shame, as the application process lends itself to a significant amount of guidance and involvement that can be obtained no other way.

In previous years, when Student Sustainability Fund requests were at their highest, there were no means of implementation or accountability after projects were approved. As would be expected, this led to a general weariness about the process as a whole.

Likewise, the lack of support led to the projects that gave sustainability a reputation of creating bloated initiatives that would corrode after a certain student-leader left.

Those days are behind us. We have a wonderful new champion of sustainability in Froggi Van Riper.

No longer will projects die after funding approval, as Froggi will serve as the liaison that has been so desperately needed in years past. Nora McGinn is a seasoned Sustainability Chair, and students should use the opportunity to glean something from her institutional knowledge while she is still around.

Having recently completed my Environmental Studies degree, I am thankful for the tone of activism and engagement that colors almost every course in the department. The fact of the matter is, however, students are missing out on a significant portion of their education if they don’t use Knox as an incubator to see through the theories and ideas that are taught in the classroom. While group projects are great, there is simply no better way of learning than by doing.

For all of Knox’s financial woes, we students have actively sacrificed to give ourselves the latitude to carry out our own projects, despite the finances of the institution. Now that the support and resources are here, we should start to cultivate the harvest we created for ourselves.

Tags:  environmental studies froggi van riper nora mcginn student senate sustainability committee student sustainability fund sustainability chair

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