Sustainability debate needs to cool down

By By John Hannon

By John Hannon

The issue of a sustainability student fee on campus has been a topic of great debate during the past several weeks. It seems every time I hear the word, it is accompanied with a lot of anger. And, with Associated Students of the University of Utah elections in full force, the conversation has only gotten louder.

Recently, members of ASUU presented the Sustainable Campus Initiative in the form of a petition and survey to students in order to win support for the plan. But some don’t agree with the validity of the survey results. Some don’t agree with the fee. Some would rather scrap the whole idea altogether. Still others vehemently defend the initiative. And, if you read The Chronicle fairly consistently, you would have noticed several stories detailing the disagreements between supporters and non-supporters.

To the small pocket of students involved in these types of things, this issue is very important. Still, I’m sure there is a large group of students who couldn’t even tell you what the initiative is, let alone take a position on it. Although I’m sure it’s a great experience, and getting involved on campus is always a good thing, it’s my feeling that the majority of people in ASUU and the platforms for the upcoming election are, in the end, essentially participating to beef up their résumé8212;and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But let’s not pretend these issues are the end of the world.

Too many, it seems, end up falling on their own swords over issues that are fairly inconsequential. Before you bite my head off, I am absolutely for sustainability on campus, even if it means a $2.50 increase in student fees. It is something I value. However, I understand that there are people who don’t want to pay any more than they already do. In my mind, there will not be drastic consequences if sustainability on campus ends up with either of these options, or any in between.

Again, I think it’s great to get involved with student government and organizations. But before they make any decisions, students in positions of leadership should take a step back and realize that this is the U. We’re not deciding whether or not nuclear waste should be stored on campus. We’re not deciding if same-sex couples should be given increased legal protections. Let’s leave the big stuff to the Legislature (however scary a thought that might be) and view our issues realistically. Cool heads couldn’t hurt.

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John Hannon