A new sustainability co-committee being spearheaded by Barnard’s Student Government Association seeks to relieve some of the duties of the environmental advocacy group Barnard EcoReps.
“We want to alleviate the responsibilities that EcoReps have right now, “ said Rachel Ferrari, BC ’13 and a member of SGA. “They’re overcommitted. They’re peer educators, they organize events, they try to meet with vice president [of administration] Lisa Gamsu, and they’re trying to get us proper recycling bins as well.”
The idea of forming an SGA committee to work alongside the EcoReps came about last semester after JungHee Hyun, BC '13 and class president, took a class in waste management with professor Peter Bower. Hyun became the co-chair of the committee.
Helen Kilian, BC ’13 and a member of the EcoReps, noted that the club has always had two competing goals—educating the community about environmental issues and working with the administration to increase sustainability on campus.
“While we certainly consider both of these tasks to be equally important, because we are an organization comprised of only 10 individuals, it is nearly impossible to effectively accomplish either goal when both are being addressed simultaneously,” Kilian said in an email.
She said she and other members of the EcoReps are excited to participate in the co-committee, tentatively named the Sustainable Initiatives Consulting Board.
“With the formation of the Sustainable Initiatives Consulting Board, the EcoReps will be able to focus our energies exclusively on partnering with our assigned first-year floors to educate students about campus policies and broader environmental issues,” Kilian said.
Ferrari said she hoped the formation of the new board would help expose the administration to student concerns about sustainability.
“We’re laying the groundwork for what will eventually happen,” Ferrari said. “There is no venue exclusively for sustainability, which is frustrating. We want students to look at the state of sustainability at Barnard and be able to improve it through their own ideas and to talk with their administrators.”
Ferarri also said she hopes the committee will create closer partnership between the two groups—SGA can pass policies that EcoReps will implement.
“It’s great for students to have an outlet [in the SICB] to encourage people to be aware of their ‘footprint’ and to be more proactive,” EcoRep Naomi Wasserman said.
Maddie Wolberg, BC ’13 and an EcoRep, agreed. “Working with SGA not only helps us to refocus our role on campus and reduce the number of different projects we take on, but also promotes inter-group collaboration on sustainability issues at Barnard, which is always one of our main goals,” she wrote in an email.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the student who took Bower's class. Spectator regrets the error.