ISG welcomes committee on environmental sustainability


Bercham Kamber

Source: Pew Research Center

By Cori Lippert, Staff Writer


Illinois Student Government promoted a subcommittee on environmental sustainability to a standing committee to give the members more jurisdiction over the University’s environmental policies.

Senator Scott Greene, senior in FAA, said the benefit of becoming a standing committee is that the committee members are given more power over which proposals are presented to ISG.

“(As a subcommittee we) could only recommend amendments to the committee on community and governmental affairs,” Greene said.

Rebecca Laurent, junior in LAS and ACES and the chair of the environmental sustainability committee, said in an email, “We have the potential to send strong messages to the administration about our collective resolve to do our part in ending this crisis and pushing Champaign and Urbana to do the same.”

Greene said the committee will be working on reaffirming the University’s commitment to 100 percent renewable energy. The committee will also be looking at outreach events to promote recycling and composting, but has not presented a timeline.

“The Illinois Climate Action Plan already accounts for achieving zero emissions or carbon neutrality,” Greene said. “We want to sort of see that sped up, and we want to see measures being taken, concrete measures.”

Laurent said the committee wants to get more students involved and to spread the word on environmental initiatives.

Greene said he believes it is important to have a committee on sustainability because almost all other Big Ten association schools have standing sustainability committees.

“The committee is important just from a student government perspective (because) there is so much we can do, so much potential for student action on climate and environmental sustainability,” Greene said.

Mary Jane Oviatt, senior in ACES and co-president of Students for Environmental Concern, said, “I felt like it was a good idea to get involved with the student government (committee on sustainability) because they hold a position of power that other RSOs don’t.”

Oviatt said she has cared about the environment her whole life, and she wants people to be aware of the actions they take that have an affect on the earth.

“I want this committee to be a leader and a place for leaders to get together and really make an impact on the University’s sustainability, the environmental decision making,” Oviatt said.

Oviatt said she wants more people from all over campus to get involved and become more aware of the environmental issues.

“Our committee has also been a collaborative space for students across campus, many of whom are involved in a variety of different environmental RSO’s to come and work together, which there is certainly a need for,” Laurent said.

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