Temple Student Government has taken steps to create a more environmentally aware and active campus.
At its Feb. 8 meeting, the executive board created a new position and appointed Yosef Kalish as the Environmental Awareness Chair.
“I believe this is a big step for TSG, and I am excited to get involved in helping to make Temple a more environmentally friendly institution,” Kalish said.
His will be responsible for examining and acting on various environmental issues at the university and in the surrounding communities. To do this, he is creating various sub-committees to address specific issues.
These committees, Clean Energy, Recycling, Temple Releaf and Engineering and Construction are to be added to the TSG constitution at its Feb. 22 meeting, according to Kalish.
They will be comprised of both TSG general assembly members and other non-general assembly members who are interested in and committed to the groups.
The momentum for these committees has been growing since last semester, and many have already made progress through the Student Environmental Action club.
Of these, the Clean Energy and Recycling groups have been working with facilities management and are planning major educational campaigns for the student body.
The Clean Energy group has been working on its campaign since November.
At the meeting, TSG honored Kurt Bresser, the university’s Energy Manager, with an award to acknowledge his assistance and support of these students.
“I always felt like I worked for the students, and now I feel like I’m really working with them,” Bresser said.
He has met with students on many occasions and has been instrumental in helping them understand the university’s energy usage, finances and administrative layout, according to sophomore social work major and committee member Alison Huxta.
“It’s nice to see administrators who care about what students want, and he’s helping motivate and encourage us,” Huxta said. “He’s taking responsibility himself and showing interest and we really appreciate that.”
Following the award, the group made their initial presentation to the General Assembly introducing the idea of purchasing wind power as a portion of the university’s electricity usage.
Their immediate goal is to get the university to purchase 12 percent of its electricity from wind power, which would exceed the University of Pennsylvania’s 10 percent.
The energy would be purchased from wind farms mostly in mountainous regions of the state and would help reduce reliance on energy from fossil fuels and nuclear power.
The recycling group will continue their campaign to educate students, faculty and staff about the benefits and methodologies of recycling on campus. Once they become a committee, they will be responsible for reporting directly to TSG on these issues.
Another of the proposed committees, Temple Releaf, is a tree-planting initiative for both campus and the surrounding communities, according to junior Environmental Studies major Josh Meyer.
“Our goal is to get trees planted as many places as possible to improve Temple and the surrounding neighborhoods,” Meyer said. “Tree planting has health, economic and social benefits as well as environmental.”
They are working with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and are planning events to educate people about planting and caring for trees in the city.
Engineering and Construction will seek to work with the administration on new building and renovation projects to ensure they are sustainable and economically and environmentally sound.
All of these committees wish to educate the university body about adopting more environmentally friendly practices.
“We want to get people thinking about living more sustainably in their everyday lives,” Huxta said.
Kim Teplitzky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.