Student senate encourages creating sustainability office

By Michael Logli

In the last Illinois Student Senate meeting of the year, the senate passed a resolution encouraging the creation of an Office of Sustainability. This office would work with pre-existing student groups on campus to advance environmental projects and increase funding and research for efficiency, said Dan Weber, freshman in LAS and student senator.

“There is support for sustainability on this campus, but not a lot of coordinated efforts from the University,” Weber said.

He added the Student Sustainability Committee, which operates under the Office of Student Affairs and reviews how to spend funds collected through the sustainability fee that students pay, has already received verbal confirmation for the idea of creating the office from Chancellor Richard Herman.

Some of the goals of the office would be to provide leadership in the realm of sustainability on the campus, state and national level, organize campus-wide activities involving sustainability issues, organize sustainability into the curriculum and improve the physical campus environment, said Student Sustainability Committee member Ben Barnes, a graduate student.

“We need action on it now, or we will get left in the dust,” Barnes said.

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    The University is ranked behind many other universities for sustainability, and nine of the 11 Big Ten schools have major sustainability initiatives that include university involvement, Barnes said.

    Though Barnes agrees that there is large student support for sustainability issues on campus, he said that with University involvement progress will substantially increase.

    “Universities have access to the leaders of tomorrow,” Barnes said.