Campus sustainability initiative passed by University Senate

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Amal Younis

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by Katelynn Robinson, Staff Writer

New guidelines for university policies and procedures surrounding sustainability at San Diego State were approved by vote of the University Senate on May 7.

The University Senate passed the Sustainability Policy with a vote of 47-8 with 2 abstentions, and the Sustainability Resolution passed with a 44-10 vote and 8 abstentions.

Since the policy was passed it is now an official part of SDSU’s policy system and will go into effect immediately. The resolution will now move to President Adela de la Torre for approval.

The policy outlined new regulations for SDSU to follow regarding sustainability, including achieving the goals of the university’s 2017 Climate Action Plan and designating a position and staff member to ensure the implementation of sustainability across campus. 

Several members of the University Senate raised concerns about the Sustainability Resolution because it did not offer any hard numbers or costs to the university. Senate member Cezar Ornatowski was the first to raise concerns about the potential and uncertain costs of the sustainability resolution.

The policy was thoroughly discussed amongst the Senate, with meeting and discussion about the Sustainability Resolution and Policy being broken into two days.

During the meeting, motions for amendments can be made before the policy is approved. Once approved, the policy can also be refined. 

A motion was made by Ornatowski to rename the policy to “Sustainability Resolution and Policy: Guiding Principles.” 

Although some found this change appropriate, other University Senate members including Amanda Fuller said it is important for SDSU to have an actual policy rather than guidelines. 

 “I think it is really important that this university pass an actual sustainability policy not just guiding principles,” Fuller said. “We are far behind our (California State Universities) and the (University of California) system.”

International Security and Conflict Resolution sophomore Gener Abdon spoke on behalf of SDSU students in support of the policy and resolution. 

“As an SDSU student, I would like to recognize the university and most notably Associated Students students for the amazing sustainability initiatives on campus,” Abdon said. “We believe that robustly integrating sustainability into all aspects of the university’s infrastructure is necessary for its future.”

Abdon spoke about Green Love, the climate strike that took place on SDSU’s campus during the Fall 2019 and the unified front students have presented on environmental issues.

“To conclude, it is apparent that there are several students here who stand in solidarity supporting the sustainability policy and resolution,” Abdon said. 

University Senate member Scott also spoke in support of the policy and resolution, saying SDSU was late to the party in regards to sustainability.

“This is something that students at every single college want to see happen,” Scott said. “This can be proven by the climate action strike earlier last semester. This is something that we are really late to the party on and we need to make sure we are acting as quickly as possible.” 

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