The topic of sustainability was the center of conversation at the weekly Student Government Association (SGA) meeting.
Senate Bill 97 was sponsored by Senator Kyle Sorbe and “will provide funds from reserves for water bottle refilling fountains all remaining floors of North Complex.”
The bill passed with 21 votes, but not until after much discussion and student input.
Members from the Resident Hall Association (RHA) spoke on the bill. Jacob Holmberg, Vice President of RHA, said water bottle refilling fountains will encourage students to drink water that’s not coming out of a bottle.
“One of the RAs (Resident Assistant) in Mickelson has a recycling program set up in her kitchen and she said currently she has about 10, 13-gallon trash bags full of water bottles to take to the recycling center,” Holmberg said. “Another RA on Beede 2 has approximately 26 bags since September she’s collected with water bottles to take to the recycling center…so there’s a lot of water bottles coming into the residence halls that could be cut back on with the filling stations put on each floor.”
Marcus Ireland, an RA and desk worker at North Complex, said SGA shouldn’t miss the opportunity to help students on this issue.
“North Complex houses 50 percent of the entire student population that lives on campus,” Ireland said. “I know a lot of people complain to me about how we don’t have them on their floor so I know the students do care about having them.”
One debated issue of the bill was its cost of $26,250 from the reserve fund.
Senator Saeed Dabbour said the issue should be taken on by the housing department or RHA, as it was too large of an expense for an item that would only benefit students living on-campus.
Ireland said he understood Dabbour’s point, but thought the bill was still worth funding.
“The number of students who don’t currently live on campus won’t be able to utilize this, but currently no student is utilizing our reserves fund because it just sits there,” Ireland said.
Sydney Schad, former SGA senator, said there was no reason SGA shouldn’t be implementing this bill.
“I don’t think SGA has probably any substantial bills that have affected the students,” Schad said. “I think SGA, as it stands right now, is struggling to have a positive image for the student body; why not do better?”
Kyle Sorbe, the bill’s sponsor, said he knew this bill would be difficult to pass because it is a large sum of money.
“With North Complex being in the shape that it is and the housing situation we have on campus, I know it was important to have some kind of feature to bring kids in,” Sorbe said. “Basic water is something that all students need; it’s just an easy way for SGA to give back so students can have a comfortable place to live.”
Adam Chicoine, director of Aramark, also spoke about sustainability at the meeting.
Chicoine said Aramark is planning to implement paper straws by the fall of next year.
“Another thing about sustainability, a lot of it is education to your fellow students,” Chicoine said. “Tapingo is big and it’s not great for sustainability. Those who do sit in the MUC, don’t take a straw or don’t take a lid at Qdoba…or don’t ask for a bag.”