The Student Association Senate voted to form a special committee dedicated to promoting sustainability and environmental justice at a special meeting Monday.
The senate passed the Special Committee on Sustainability Creation Act – co-sponsored by SA Sen. Courtney Mason, CCAS-G, and SA Sen. Lydia Abera, GWSB-U – unanimously and will charge an SA-led committee to take actions like urging officials to divest from fossil fuels and releasing proposals to improve GW sustainability measures. Mason, who senators elected to chair the committee, said the committee intends to work with student groups like Sunrise GW and “hold each other accountable” to write legislation and meet with administrators.
“Sen. Abera and I wanted to create a special committee on sustainability just because we feel there is a lot of work to be done regarding sustainability initiatives on campus,” Mason said.
Abera said a sustainability-focused committee within the SA would be “powerful” and “impactful” when working in conjunction with student-led green organizations.
“We did want to establish a committee just dedicated for environmental justice because we are after all a governing body, and we do have a lot of power and say in what happens within GW,” Abera said.
The Board of Trustees’ Task Force on Environmental, Social and Governance Responsibility released draft recommendations last month encouraging trustees to fully divest GW’s endowment from the fossil fuel industry by 2025. The Board is expected to vote on the recommendations at its retreat later this month.
Senators confirmed Zachary Nosanchuk as chief of staff to the senate and the executive vice president, Jay Burghardt as senate deputy chief of staff, Chris Johnson as senate secretary, Patrick Burland as senate parliamentarian, Catherine Morris as senate chief policy adviser and Ruby Samim and Raina Hackett as senate policy advisers.
The senate elected SA Sen. Jovawn McNeil, ESIA-U, to head the diversity and inclusion assembly, and SA Sen. Thomas Falcigno, CPS-G, to serve as chairperson pro tempore and chair of the governance and nominations committee. The senate elected SA Sen. Charles Aborisade, U-at-Large, SA Sen. Cordelia Scales, SEAS-U, and SA Sen. Kate Carpenter, U-at-Large, to chair the finance, academic affairs and student life committees, respectively.