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Student government association implements sustainable practices at Saint Mary’s

| Thursday, December 7, 2017

When Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president Bailey Oppman and Lydia Lorenc took office, they wanted to promote sustainability on campus. To achieve this goal, they named junior Emily Harrast and sophomore Kassidy Jungles as the chairs for sustainability under Student Government Association (SGA).

While Oppman and Lorenc stressed sustainability, the majority of initiatives fall under the sustainability chairs, Harrast said in an email.

“Kassidy and I worked on our own goals for the year, but when it came to things we did not have experience with, [Oppman and Lorenc] were very helpful,” she said. “They helped us figure out our budget for the year, as well as helping us communicate our goals with [College President Jan Cervelli] and other staff.”

The chairs’ main goal for this semester was fundraising, Harrast said.

“[We] wanted to raise money to buy hand dryers for the student center bathrooms,” Harrast said. “We spent this past semester designing a good product that we felt everyone would enjoy — but also subtly supports sustainability — and selling it to raise the money we needed to support our efforts. We achieved our goal of selling 100 shirts, and we hope to implement the new hand dryers as soon as possible.”

Cervelli has stressed sustainability since her inauguration last school year. Harrast said SGA met with Cervelli to discuss goals and hear any ideas she may have for SGA.

“Together, we discussed the sustainable practices already in place, which there are a fair number of, and then talked about our goal of getting hand dryers in the student center,” Harrast said.

The College has also had an active composting program during this semester, although Harrast said she cannot take credit for that initiative.

“While [the composting program] was included in our goals early on, it was started by [senior] Katie Frego and the composting club,” she said. “We work some with the club, but this program is completely run by the club members.”

Harrast said she and Jungles hope to continue promoting knowledge next semester.

“Our goals … are to spread more information about sustainable things the average Saint Mary’s student can do,” Harrast said. “We hope to do this not only using posters and social media, but also with some fun event we are planning, specifically Earth Day.”

Harrast said she believes it is important not only to strive for a more sustainable life, but also to incorporate that principle into SGA specifically.

“Having chairs for sustainability stresses how important this topic really is,” she said. “[It] reminds students that we need to constantly think about whether or not actions are sustainable and what we need to do to make them more sustainable.”

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

Contact Nicole