Skidmore’s Student Government Association (SGA) Senate recently passed a resolution that enables the formation of the Sustainability Committee (SuCo), a new SGA committee. According to the SuCo Operating Codes, this group will be “responsible for educating and collaborating with students, SGA, faculty, staff and administration with the intent to advance the commitment to sustainability” and “shall be devoted to embracing the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainability implementing policies that address campus challenges.” While the recent resolution does not establish SuCo as an official SGA committee yet (that will be decided in a student vote during the first election cycle in the Spring 2013 semester), every resolution like this has been approved in the past two years.
The development process of SuCo began last year, piloted by Talia Arnow ’13, and has had great support from many along the way. “The process has expanded the common environmental notion of sustainability to a more synergistic relationship between social, economic and environmental goals and has made it a more frequent topic of conversation,” says Arnow. Alex Barber ’13, a newly appointed sustainability senator sitting on the SGA believes “the resolution is an incredible step forward and shows huge commitment and support for any and all things sustainability.”
The passing of the resolution has left many like Arnow and Barber excited about the future of sustainability at Skidmore, and people around campus are celebrating the achievements of all the students that worked to create SuCo. “The creation of the Sustainability Committee on SGA is another great example of student engagement at Skidmore College in general, and specifically around sustainability. The students have worked hard to make the group something that can really draw in a lot of students and improve communication and policy creation for sustainability via student government,” said Riley Neugebauer, Skidmore’s Sustainability Coordinator.
“The establishment of a new SGA committee shows students’ ability to help design and re-define their community” and “demonstrates the students’ desire and commitment to create and help build a more sustainable community” said Arnow. “The committee’s ability to coordinate and help channel voices from various sources on campus is critical for comprehensive thinking, education, planning, policy and action to take place.”
Karen Kellogg, Associate Dean of Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Civic Engagement at Skidmore College says she sees SuCo “as a critical partner and leader in our sustainability efforts” and that “we’ve already had productive discussions about how to enhance student involvement in sustainability projects on campus, how to enhance the communication between administration and students, and how we might move forward in our strategic planning around sustainability.”
While this is a great accomplishment for students and the campus as a whole, this is only the beginning. “All in all, I think this is a big step for SGA and the student body however there is still much work to do in regards to our relationship to the administration and the administration committing to sustainability” says Matt Walsh ‘13, President of SGA.
Although the path may be long, the future for sustainability at Skidmore College is bright. “I think SuCo has a lot potential to make campus wide changes because of its association to SGA, and because of the influence that SGA has in decision making at the College,” said Barber.
For more information about SuCo, or to find ways to get involved with SuCo or Sustainable Skidmore, please contact:
Alex Barber, Sustainability Senator, SuCo firstname.lastname@example.org