Why does UD need an Office of Sustainability and how do we get one?
Last Wednesday, October 29th, we learned just that when we held our first Green Liaisons Luncheon of the semester. Our guest speakers were Becky Bronstein, a senior and member of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, Student Government Association, and the Sustainability Task Force, and Cesar Caro, a grad student and member of the Grad Student Government. Both Becky and Cesar have been involved with numerous other environmental activities on campus, but one of their biggest passion projects together, as we learned at the Luncheon, is that of the creation of an Office of Sustainability on campus.
A Bit of History
In the summer of 2013, shocked by the fact that UD did not yet have an Office of Sustainability, a small team of students that included Becky and Cesar set out to change that. A student named Grace Relf drafted a 27-page proposal for the Office, which led to a series of meetings held between this group of concerned students and UD’s Provost and Executive VP.
Taking into account the University’s feedback, Becky, Cesar, and Grace began conducting a comprehensive assessment of student and faculty support for the Office: they met with Facilities, Housing, DENIN, and professors, and then held a student poll, which showed 91% of those asked in support.
Knowing then that their efforts were worthwhile in the eyes of the UD community, this student team pressed on and proceeded to develop a plan for both funding and structure for the Office.
Funding would be done by phased implementation, which would mean having one employee (the Director of Office) for a period of time. This employee, however, would immediately have one Graduate Fellow and a few undergrad interns. Eventually, the people employed would expand to include a variety of more specialized project managers under the Director. The money would come from a combo of grants and business partnerships.
The structure of the Office would be the following: within the Office itself would be one Director who oversees the Sustainability Task Force, student-led Green Senate, and various Project Managers. Outside of the Office–but still related–would be a Sustainability Planning Committee, comprised of various important players throughout the University, such as the VP for Facilities, VP of Student Life, and Energy Manager, who would all work to advise and monitor those within the actual Office.
On the Agenda
Becky and Cesar now are looking to write a two-pager in continuation of their work on planning the Office, and then meet again with the Provost and Executive VP. Otherwise, however, they welcome any help or ideas from students and faculty who are interested. This initiative is so significant because an Office could be the kind of body that could prevent another deal like the Power Plant from even being discussed.
Questions or want to get involved? Talk to Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cesar at email@example.com!
And watch them present at the Lunch here.