Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SSA in the California Aggie

Students for Sustainable Agriculture was represented in the California Aggie in the guest opinion article. A few students from SSA gathered collectively to submit an opinion piece endorsing the upcoming Green Initiative Fund (or TGIF for short). Maggie Lickter and other SSA members were key in formulating the piece that was emailed to the Aggie staff, and published in Tuesday, February 17th's paper.

To see a copy of the article, go to http://californiaaggie.org/ and look in the right column for download-able archives.

Guest Opinion: Is TGIF right for you?
Students for Sustainable Agriculture

The California Aggie
Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Fundamental questions about our responsibilities as students are being raised by the vote on The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF). After considering some of the complex questions surrounding TGIF, the UC Davis club, Students for Sustainable Agriculture, has decided to formally endorse TGIF. This article will address some of the bigger questions that we see as relevant to the TGIF discourse.

Is it my responsibility to pay money to support a green campus?
As active students of the UCD student body, we expect our school to represent our values and best interests. We choose to take responsibility to put our money where our mouths are and contribute to a campus that strives or sustainability.

How much money should we pay?
Well, four dollars per quarter sounds reasonable to us. We’re all feeling the pinch during this economic crisis, but we can still come together and pay $4 for something that brings real potential for change to UC Davis.

Who’s going to make sure that money is used effectively? Wouldn’t it be a waste if our money ended up going down the drain?
Of course. However, after reading the proposed management guidelines for TGIF, we feel confident that TGIF’s creators have built a structure that will manage the money democratically and efficiently.

What about the fate of other projects that I care about on campus?
With increasing budget cuts, people feel forced to prioritize and fight to secure funding for their preferred projects. However, funding for campus positions, programs and projects is not a zero sum game. TGIF will not take away funding from any another existing programs.

That being said, our only critique of TGIF is that it should include more emphasis on campus social justice issues.

However, this is not ground for dismissing TGIF. In fact, what we see as a lack of attention to social justice can be addressed by proposing projects that address sustainability and justice simultaneously! TGIF has major implications for our school’s reputation and longevity during a time of major environmental problems. Installing solar panels or low flush toilets may not appear to be a top priority, but their implementation is an important step towards reducing our use of coal and water, two limited resources that are being rapidly depleted - and for four bucks, it’s worth it.

Who benefits from TGIF?
We all do. Ecological adversity affects everyone. World wide, environmental degradation disproportionately affects people of low socio-economic status, women, and children. Having such a wildly destructive ecological footprint is elitist and we have a global responsibility
to mitigate our effects. Let’s get real with ourselves - we are incredibly fortunate and privileged to have access to this University. Let’s make sure that we use that privilege wisely to benefit ourselves, our communities, and future generations.

Additionally, as UCD students we particularly benefit from the passage of this initiative. This fund is asking us to realize our own possibility. It funds student projects! Anyone can apply, anyone can create change! That means you!

Do I care?
That’s for you to decide. If apathy and self imposed ignorance haven’t yet killed our student body’s will to create the change they want to see in their world, then vote. That’s all, just vote. Vote yes or vote no, but make your voice heard this election on February 18-19th.

In conclusion, we think that with mutual cooperation, TGIF will become a force for sustainable and socially just change on campus. TGIF has the potential to communicate our agency. Students for Sustainable Agriculture supports TGIF and its creators in working to better the campus we all represent.

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