New Center Would Focus Green Effort On Campus

    Members of the Sustainability Resource Collective proposed an add-on to the impending A.S. fee referendum last week to fund a Sustainability Resource Center, which would host additional sustainability interns and various environmental and social justice programs and events.

    The center would be funded by an additional $2.34 per student per quarter, amounting to a yearly $85,400 budget to support an on-campus office available to students interested in helping UCSD maintain a greener lifestyle. The center would showcase sustainability options for consumers and house a resource library along with a lounge and study spaces to encourage students to come together to make UCSD a greener and more tolerant place.

    “The main goal [of the center] is to foster an active culture of responsibility for sustainability on campus and in the community,” said June Reyes, a representative from the Social and Environmental Sustainability Committee. “This will be accomplished by an open space that serves the campus community by providing resources, support and space — connecting and empowering students, staff and faculty, which is integral in making real change.”

    According to Sustainability Coordinator Margaret Souder, the SRC will enhance UCSD’s sustainability efforts by encouraging a communal approach to environmental issues.

    “Part of what makes UC San Diego a leader in sustainability solutions is our ability to effectively collaborate to find and implement solutions that can be applied locally or beyond,” Souder said. “The SRC will be easy to access, making it simple to detour for a moment to learn about how to help, to share sustainable ideas or start the process for implementing a project idea.”

    The concept for the resource center was the brainchild of various environmentally concerned campus organizations, each interested in creating an open forum for students, faculty and staff helping UCSD become what project leaders hope will be a “living laboratory for sustainable solutions.”

    “It’s a next step in the direction toward a sustainable campus because it is an empowering space for the entire campus community,” Reyes said. “The sort of visibility it gives this topic is crucial because many people do not know how to become involved or how to have their questions answered. Putting a space there to answer those questions, inspire people to become active, and a place where real live interactions can take place is invaluable and can stir up greater change.”

    The SRC plans to sponsor programs aimed at raising awareness of human influences on the environment and providing students with proactive, green-friendly opportunities.

    Planned programs include vegan dinners, trash sorting, documentary film viewings, brown-bag lunch lectures, an activist peer-mentor program and a reusable dishware program.

    “The programming would shape the space and will really be a key way in which the SRC can be an effective service for the entire campus community,” Reyes said. “This allows students who will become interns to take off with their own creative ideas to help the center evolve on campus as time goes on.”

    The center will also sponsor the distribution of grants to research projects, outside-speaker invitations, building construction improvements and other student proposals. A review committee would be formed to develop and implement the criteria in evaluating proposals and awarding grant money.

    The A.S. Council will decide Wednesday if the proposed add-on will be included in the A.S. fee referendum, which students will vote on later this year.

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