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November 14, 2014

Green czars may come to House Councils

Green Campus Initiative (GCI), an RSO, is currently in discussion with College Housing to create a new House Council position called a “Green Czar” whose role would focus on House environmental sustainability efforts.

According to third-year Hannah Flynn, head of GCI, the specific role of the Green Czar is still under development, but the group has a number of potential duties in mind. One example Flynn cited is recycling.

“The Green Czars will be able to promote recycling in their own houses,” Flynn said. “Some Houses lack either public recycling bins or personal room recycling bins, which is actually a fight that the Office of Sustainability is working on right now.”

Flynn also envisions that by creating a House position linked with the Office of Sustainability, more students will be aware of the initiatives and programming it offers. She further hopes that Green Czars will function as liaisons to a new public garden volunteer program run by GCI. Another possible role of the Green Czars would be to help promote and plan the Green Festival, which takes place annually.

Third-year Aaron Schaer held a similar position in Booth House last year called Sustainability Czar, although it was never backed by any group or organization. Booth House only created the position at Schaer’s request. According to Schaer, the new Green Czars position would help the Office of Sustainability with publicity issues. Schaer said the Office of Sustainability runs many programs, “it’s just that people don’t really know about it.”

Flynn met with the two-person Office of Sustainability staff to help formulate GCI’s plans for the Green Czars. She says that the initiative has the full support of the Office of Sustainability. Ideally, Flynn said, the Green Czars would take up their positions during winter quarter, but the launch of the position might be delayed until spring depending on how long negotiations with College Housing take.

“There are actually a lot more sustainability efforts going on around campus that student’s don’t know about. [The Office] lacks a connection with the students, so there’s kind of a lack of effectiveness to their efforts. We thought that [the position] would be a good connection,” Flynn said.

The Office of Sustainability did not respond to requests for comment.

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