Seniors vote to give the gift of sustainability to campus

Seniors vote to give the gift of sustainability to campus

by Peter Kaspari & Cory KeaseyStaff Writers

The votes are in, and the Simpson College graduating class of 2009 has decided to contribute money toward sustainability efforts as their senior gift to the college.

Senior Matt Olson said that the senior class gift will greatly assist the college in its sustainability commitment.

“This will help Simpson College as it moves to be a green campus,” Olson said. “It goes along with President [John] Byrd signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which pledges the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at colleges and universities.”

The sustainability efforts was one of three gifts that the senior class had to choose from. One option was replacing the 10 to 15 trees that were damaged or destroyed during the December 2007 ice storm. The other option would have been a donation toward the Simpson Fund.

Olson said 198 seniors voted for the senior class gift. Of those, 88 voted for sustainability, 69 voted for replacing the trees and 41 voted for the Simpson Fund.

Senior Kyle Liske, student body president, agreed that the gift will make the campus more green.

“First, I hope that it can further sustainability efforts and our goal of being carbon-free,” Liske said. “I also hope it helps students give back to Simpson College financially, especially if they are able to.”

Sustainability efforts are the latest in a series of senior gifts that have not only helped Simpson improve itself, but assisted classmates as well.

Last year, money was used to create a scholarship for Erika Amfahr, a student who was seriously injured in a car accident. In 2007, outdoor furniture was purchased for the Brenton Student Center patio. Benches and artwork for McNeill Hall were given by the class of 2006, and the class of 2005 raised money for new weight room equipment in Carse Fitness Hall.

Liske said the process for selecting the gift begins long before voting occurs.

“A number of ideas were thrown out for discussion,” Liske said. “They were then narrowed down to what was feasible. Possibilities were e-mailed to the senior class and voted on by Survey Monkey.”

Olson said that the sustainability efforts will be met by making several changes to campus.

“This could include low flow toilets, sensored lighting, composting, recycling bins and other sustainable efforts as needed,” Olson said.

Now that the gift has been selected, Olson said pledges will be accepted to help get money going towards the fund.

“The campaign will run from March 30 to April 17,” Olson said. “To make a gift, please fill out the pledge card, send or drop your gift to Tricia Martin [assistant director of alumni relations and annual giving], or make a gift online.”

Pledges for the senior class gift aren’t due until May 31, 2010, giving students who currently cannot afford to give money time for them to allocate it and donate it to the fund.