Renamed commission gets an advisory budget

Story by Sam Rosenberry


The Student Offices for Sustainability budget bill passed unanimously Monday night.

It was an advisory budget for the organization that used to be called the Environmental Endeavors Commissions. Ben Ponkratz, who directs the organization stressed that any monetary amounts for projects are just preliminary numbers and that he didn’t want to put misleading figures in the report.

“We are really trying to be honest,” he said.

During discussion for the bill, there was an amendment added that authorized a project totaling nearly $17,000. Ponkratz said that the project aims to assess the energy efficiency in off-campus student housing.

The project’s cost may end up being fully refunded by Xcel Energy and Vice President Mark Morgan spoke in support of the amendment.

“It’s a pretty phenomenal opportunity to have Xcel actually match us and do the whole thing for us,” he said.

Ponkratz said that if Xcel ultimately does not provide the support, the project will be brought up again to the body in a different form. It passed 29-2.

This was also the one opportunity senators had to ask questions and possibly amend the projects that were listed in the budget. According to the bylaws of SOS, anything under $10,000 does not need to be approved by Senate.

Senator Tweedale proposed an amendment that would reduce the wage of a worker in a composting goalie project,

According to Ponkratz, the worker was to be paid $8 an hour to stand by waste bins in hockey pads and educate students as to what was compostable and what was not.

Tweedale thought the wage was excessive, and suggested dropping the amount by 75 cents which reduced the overall cost from $2176 to $1972. This amendment eventually passed 26-4.

“It’s a savings of $204 which would pay for over half the campus garden allocation,” she said. “$7.25 would still be a very fair wage for a low labor, low stress job.”