Spring State of the U backs new art and sustainability

State of the U

ASA State of the U stresses sustainability



“Transparency” was the buzzword at Wednesday evening’s spring State of the U hosted by the Augustana Student Association (ASA). For the second time this year, students gathered in the Siverson Lounge to hear what their elected representatives have accomplished on their behalf.

“Transparency” may have come first, but “sustainability” was a close second.

Co-Curriculum council chair Hannah Norem introduced students to the Cargill Foundation grant, a three-year sustainability award aimed at making the university a “model campus” of environmental friendliness. Though the final draft of the grant will mostly be written by faculty, Norem invited students to share their ideas with faculty representatives.

In a similar vein, ASA president Mason VanEssen opened the meeting by discussing the new art opportunity coming to campus that will support the sustainability initiative. A sculpture is set to be installed in a collaboration between the art department and those heading up the grant to reflect Augustana’s commitment to the arts and the environment.

From sustaining the environment to sustaining campus enclaves, treasurer and head of the administration and planning committee Will Bordewyk announced ASA’s pledge of $10,000 to update the furniture in the Back Alley. Campus Life has set aside an additional $10,000.

Norem’s committee is in charge of test-driving the new furniture, expected to be in place next fall.

Another campus institution getting an update: the Morrison Commons. Housing and dining chair Noah Brown outlined the new Bite app to be used by Sodexo to inform students of what meals are being served.

Brown said the motivation behind the app came mostly from students on the block meal plan and those with dietary restrictions. Though Bite has yet to be implemented, Brown said Sodexo and ASA are working together to make sure it’s at least 75-percent efficient upon rollout.

Though Siverson was mostly populated by ASA senators, some students showed up: sophomore Matthew Moe and junior Emma Ward among them.

Moe said he thought more students should make the effort to come listen to their senators.

“I think the State of the U is a good idea because it summarizes the projects ASA is working on and gives people an overview,” Moe said. “A lot of people on campus don’t know what’s going on, but then they complain without trying to make a difference.”

VanEssen wants to continue doing something to inform those students who don’t know what ASA does, even if he’s not the one doing it.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “I’m proud of the committee chairs and senators who are doing these projects, they definitely make my job easier. You could spend 40 hours a week on this job and not get everything done. But I know the State of the U will continue to evolve to best figure out how students want to be informed.”

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