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Student Senate: environment, bylaw changes brought up

Senate introduced a bill to be voted on this coming Monday regarding nearly $20,000 in events and programs proposed for Earth Week.

Student Office of Sustainability introduced a bill on Feb. 25 outlining a plan for Earth Week spending.

The bill included a plan to spend about $7,500 on music acts, almost $8,000 on a speaker and about $4,300 on reusable bags for Earth Week.

Four bands will play on campus if the bill passes. Cloud Cult and Heart Pills will play Sunday April 21 and FireFlyForest and Charlie Parr will play Monday, April 22.

SOS also wants to bring Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger.com to speak on campus, April 24.

Ellen Sorenson, SOS director, said planning for Earth Week started earlier this year compared to previous years.

“Last year everything seemed a little shuffled together last minute, so we wanted to start planning well in advance so we can have proper advertising for it,” Sorenson said.

SOS will partner with Climate Action Now!, Citizens Climate Lobby and the University Activities Commission to pull off Earth Week advertising and activities.

Sophomore Serena Spitz said she did not attend Earth Week events last year.

“I don’t believe it’s being promoted enough,” Spitz said.

Spitz said she recycles as much as she can ­— especially old computer parts. She said she would like to see more efforts to promote recycling and reduce consumption.

Earth Week officially starts April 22, but related events will kick off the Wednesday before  Forum speaker Will Allen speaks on April 17. Community clean-up efforts are planned for the Saturday before Earth Week.

“I feel like a lot of the sustainable improvements that we do are back of the house,” Sorenson said. “Instead of handing out t-shirts we want to hand out bags … we just want to think about ways people could walk away from this and say ‘hey that was cool.’”

Senate swore in four new senators Monday, introduced a referendum which will change how mid-year senators are chosen and a bill which will shift election oversight duties.

Mariah Dorner, Clinton Stroeing, Amanda Schibling and Hillary Young were sworn in as senators Monday.

The Vacancies Committee finds students to fill open Senate seats.  Senate will vote Monday to send out a campus-wide referendum that could alter the structure of the Vacancies Committee.

The bill aims for the Vacancies Committee to be chaired by the president and consist of three Senators, one of which must be an on-campus senator.

The Vacancies Committee would no longer have an Executive Board member if the referendum passes and students vote yes.

Senior Jimmy Haggerty applied for an open Senate position last semester and has served on Senate in the past.

“I don’t think the president should have a vote on who gets in … it’s too hard to be objective, at some point viewpoint neutrality gets lost,” Haggerty said.

Haggerty said replacing an Executive Board member with a regular senator would make the vacancies process more objective.

Senate introduced a bill Monday which would eliminate language concerning the Student Court and the Chief Justice out of the Senate bylaws. The suggested changes would also add “maintain honorable conduct” to the oath of Executive Board members.

Student Court and Chief Justice oversee how Senate elections are counted.

If the bill passes Monday, the Parliamentarian, who advises senate on the constitution and other procedures, will serve as the Elections Committee Chairperson instead of the Chief Justice.

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