Student leaders have spoken: Green is good.
In a unanimous decision, the Undergraduate Assembly voted Sunday night to support environmentally sound practices at Penn.
The UA proposal calls for a University-wide policy supporting environmentally sound practices, such as campus-wide recycling, energy conservation and buying from vendors who are committed to the environment.
To support these initiatives, the UA proposed a specific administrator to oversee environmental initiatives, the formation of a student, faculty and staff oversight group and a study to find the cheapest way to go green.
The vote took place a little over a week after the Green Campus Partnership and the Penn Environmental Group - student-led environmental-advocacy groups - presented their proposal for sustainability to University and student leaders.
The UA proposal differs slightly from the GCP/PEG plan. Although the environmental leaders called for the University to hire someone new to oversee future initiatives, the UA allowed the possibility of delegating responsibility to an existing administrator.
"We know what we want as far as goals," said UA representative Lisa Zhu, who presented the plan. "But it wasn't our place to instruct the University."
Representatives of the environmental groups were pleased with the UA's decision.
The unanimous vote "was a great indication of how much student support there is," said College junior and Daily Pennsylvanian photographer Michael Poll, who represented the GCP at the UA meeting.
Poll added that the UA proposal was "exhaustive," completely encompassing the goals of the group's proposal.
Although the UA has passed measures in the past that supported certain environmental policies, none has "been to this degree," Zhu said.
She added it was important to move the proposal forward before the University starts its eastward-expansion plan. A comprehensive policy would ensure that all new construction follows certain environmentally friendly practices.
Supporters of greener campus initiatives are quick to note, though, that tomorrow's meeting of the University Council steering committee will be a true test of the plan's future success.
Green Campus Partnership Director and College junior Bonnie Waring said the steering-committee's support is "crucial to us moving forward - until we hear what happens then, our game plan isn't drawn out yet."
There is no doubt among the proposal's supporters that "everyone is in the same boat that [sustainability] is good for the University," Poll said.
The real challenge will be collaborating with administrators to decide how to "make this happen," he said.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.