SGA promotes sustainability with new water fill stations, Real Food Challenge proposal

By Harper Spires – hspires@unca.edu – Staff Writer

As a collaborative effort to resolve multiple SGA student contact reports and increase sustainable practices on campus, the Student Environmental Center works with Sen. Paola Salas to bring a new water fill station to the main floor of the library.

“The main floor is a popular commuter hangout spot, and having a water fill station will make the process a lot more efficient,” Salas said.

Students can expect the new fill station to be installed by the beginning of the fall 2014 semester.

Sen. Charlie White has also been working with the SEC to pass a resolution calling for UNC Asheville’s participation in the Real Food Campus Commitment. The goal of a Real Food Challenge is to promote university models nationwide that use sustainable and humane food systems.

“A senate resolution encouraging the chancellor, dining services, the director of sustainability and the Student Environmental Center to sign the Real Food Campus Commitment would commit our campus to increase the amount of locally-based, sustainably-grown, humane food that’s used for on-campus dining. Our goal would be set after an audit by the Real Food Calculator,” White said.

The senate resolution has been tabled and will be discussed again at the next SGA meeting.

In other news:

President Leigh Whittaker and Sens. Kathy Frantz and White attended the monthly UNC system Association of Student Governments meeting at North Carolina State University last weekend. The ASG General Assembly passed legislative advocacy priorities encouraging the state legislature to do more for the UNC system during this year’s session.

The ASG General Assembly also passed the Act to Bring About Clean Energy in the UNC system. The resolution pushes Duke Energy to work more closely with the UNC system, one of its biggest customers, to reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

“It calls for a comprehensive system-wide plan for green energy procurement and efficiency efforts,” White said.

White attended the ASG Committee on government relations. The committee double-checked legislative priorities and discussed having student body presidents call national congressional members from their school’s districts regarding increasing financial aid in the National Education Authorization Act. White said the committee would like student body presidents to push North Carolina representatives for a position on increases in financial aid.

Frantz attended the ASG Committee on Access and Affordability. The committee wrote a bill expressing their dissent to the board of governors regarding Program Prioritization, a new process installed by the state of North Carolina that cuts academic programs and majors deemed unnecessary.

“Cutting education funds shifts the financial burden to students, or limits their education experience,” Frantz said.

Harry Samuels, executive of sustainability, continues his work on Greenfest. A student survey sent out last week will help in deciding the final theme for this year’s Greenfest. Samuels also said he hopes to have a focus group soon, where students will be able to provide clear input and feedback regarding transportation on and around campus.

The Student Affairs Committee has been discussing the possibility of major-specific halls in various residence halls; however, nothing official has been decided yet.

Frantz has been talking to the head of transportation regarding a transportation app that is in the works. The app will show real-time bus arrivals and departures.

The Campus Works Committee will be shifting from their previous internal duties to looking at more state and county legislation. They hope this will decrease overlap with the Student Affairs Committee and increase involvement with state and local government.

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