Candidates highlight sustainable initiatives

By Jeremy Thompson, Staff Writer

Candidates running in ASUU elections want to make campus sustainability a major issue for the next student body president.

The parties are proposing to create environmental degree designations, shorten the educational work week or alter existing environmental programs to make sustainability an important part of students’ lives.

Both the GO and Synergy parties are proposing the establishment of Environmental Impact Scholar designations for graduating seniors.

The GO Party wants the designation to include a community, political, individual and academic component, said Erica Andersen, the party’s candidate for senior class president. Details of the proposed designation are yet to be determined, she said.

“We want to create a behavioral change in individuals,” Andersen said. “If we can get every person to make one change in their behavior during their time at the U, imagine the impact we could have.”

The Synergy Party’s proposed designation would require nine to 12 credit hours and would be noted as a certificate on transcripts.

“If we invest in students by providing them with education about their environmental impact, they can make a difference beyond campus,” said Liz Oldroyd, the party’s senior class presidential candidate. “By allowing the requirements to overlap with diversity requirements, more students would be motivated to get the designation.”

The Revolution Party is trying to limit the U’s negative impacts on the environment by shortening the school week.

Tayler Clough, the party’s presidential candidate, said the party would work with administration to make the school week four days instead of five.

“If we go to a four-day work week, we would be able to run at lower capacity on Fridays, lessen heating and air conditioning costs and allow the university to save money,” Clough said. “This way we can generate money without raising fees and lessen the impact of budget cuts across campus.”

The group would also like to see classes relocated on Fridays until the proposal could be implemented.

“We need to take advantage of our environmentally friendly buildings on campus,” said Rachel Rizzo, the party’s vice presidential candidate. “They can be a valuable resource.”

Rizzo cited OSH as an example of an inefficient building, pointing out that each wing of the building is powered by independent generators. If classes on Friday were moved from OSH to more energy-efficient buildings, such as the Warnock Engineering Building, Rizzo said the U could save money and energy.

The Synergy Party hopes to increase recycling and reduce and reuse the amount of waste on campus, especially in regard to on-campus dining.

“We want to reuse the organic waste generated by the cafeteria as fertilizer on campus gardens,” said Clint Hugie, the party’s presidential candidate. “We want to cut back on the amount of waste generated by on-campus dining facilities and reuse what waste is generated.”

Hugie said the party hopes to increase education about the recycling program on campus so it will be better utilized. By educating students about what programs are available, Hugie said he hopes students will begin to see the impact they are having on the environment.

GO Party candidates said they realize the recycling program can be valuable, but more education is required for the program to be successful, said Jeff Sbaih, the party’s vice presidential candidate.

“We could utilize resources such as orientation programs to educate incoming students about how the program works and what is acceptable to recycle,” Sbaih said. “We need to make every student aware of what programs are currently available, and how they can use the programs already in place to make a positive impact.”

Clough said it will take a significant amount of money to make these environmental initiatives work.

“As candidates for positions in the Associated Students of the University of Utah, we have to make sure we use every resource we have in order to minimize impacts and maximize resources,” he said.

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