By Raphaella Mascia ’21
As all of you have been notified, SGA is holding a referendum from October 8-10th on Moodle about whether or not Holy Cross should establish a Green Fund aimed at promoting sustainability endeavors at the College, which would mean increasing the Student Activity Fee by $10 annually. And if passed, we would add our name to the long list of colleges that have Green Funds, from local Worcester schools like Clark and WPI to smaller universities like Mercyhurst, and to larger universities like Harvard and Georgetown.
In favor of transparency, I’m going to lay my cards on the table: I support the Green Fund. In fact, I was the one who wrote the Charter on it. And yes, I know what you’re thinking: please, not another increase to the tuition! But trust me, the Green Fund is actually worth it. Here are a few reasons why….
Firstly, the logistics: after it is implemented, the Green Fund fee will NOT increase during your time at the College. If you vote YES on the referendum now, you would be agreeing to pay $10 a year starting next year (Fall 2020-Spring 2021) and only $10 per year as long as you are at the College, which is $210 less than what you pay in laundry fees every year. You do not have to be afraid that this price will be raised. Period.
Secondly, the Green Fund is a proposal put forth by students for student use AND will be run by students. This means that several students, myself included, advocated for and sought the creation of this fund — not administration, faculty, or staff. Plus, the Green Fund would benefit students. Only students can apply to the Green Fund alone, and EVERY project must have a student’s name on it to get approved. On top of that, the Green Fund Administrative Board, which approves and oversees projects, will consist of a student majority; therefore, since students have the majority in terms of voting in the project application process, students themselves decide how they are using STUDENT MONEY.
Thirdly, why do we need this at Holy Cross? By saying yes to the Green Fund, we would ensure that sustainability goals can ALWAYS be pursued on the campus, no matter what. SGA only can fund short term RSO projects, while grants like the Marshall & Ignite grants are only for small value projects (usually ~$500-$1,000) and expect projects to be completed in under a year. What if students have big ideas–projects that will take months, even years, to complete? What if they want to install solar panels on a dorm, construct a community garden in Worcester, or put green roofs on Science? By creating a student Green Fund, we are saying that as a student body, we care about sustainability, and we will actively take the necessary steps to pursue it.
Finally, if we vote NO on this, what does that say about who we are as a student body? What does it say about our priorities, our goals, and our mission as people for and with others? If sustainability isn’t worth the $10 increase, then I ask you, what is? Personally, the reason I devote my time and energy to sustainability is because sustainability is an all-encompassing issue. We all live on this planet together, and we all benefit from living on it. When we take steps, whether small or large, to be more sustainable, we put an effort to not only say thank you to the planet that allows us to eat ice cream and experience the Superbowl, but we also extend a hand to all of the communities we are in and say “I care.” By saying yes to the Green Fund, we say yes to bringing about positive change to our Holy Cross Community, to future Holy Cross communities, to the Worcester Community, and beyond. We have the power to change our campus for the better. From October 8-10th, let’s act on it. Together.
For more information about the Green Fund, please attend the SGA town hall or email any of the SGA Co-Presidents, SGA Speaker of the Senate, or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org!