Student Council to Host School Congress

Around 150 student representatives will gather with faculty members to discuss sustainability issues on campus at the upcoming School Congress. Hosted by the Student Council, the Congress will take place in Tang Theatre on November 17. School President Malin Adams ’09 said that the Congress will also address a draft of the “environmental policy statement” that was presented last week to the Alumni Council. The draft will hopefully be presented to the Trustees in January, according to Adams. A combination of people worked on the statement, but it was written mainly by Mr. Hodgson, with help of Ms. Russell, Sustainability Coordinator. The recently established Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC) introduced several sustainability initiatives, such as the late start of the steam heat system this fall and 16 sustainability-related Non Sibi Day projects. In the past, student representatives have included the heads of about thirty clubs on campus, including the Philomatheon Society and The Phillipian. This year, many leaders of clubs relating to sustainability will attend. Student Council held a meeting last Sunday to discuss specific plans for the upcoming School Congress. Members of Student Council discussed how major the role each individual student should play in the school’s efforts to improve sustainability. The amount of energy consumed by students in dorms goes up consistently each year, according to Adams. Christian Anderson ’09, Technological Representative to Student Council, raised the question of “transitioning to sustainable power,” such as solar panels. Previously, there were talks about wind power and turbines as alternative means of acquiring energy. Another member suggested the use of biodegradable cups instead of plastic cups. Paul Murphy, the Dean of Students and Residential Life, proposed a competition that will give gold or silver status to each dorm or cluster based on their sustainability, in order to motivate students to work together for a more sustainable school. According to Adams, if these ideas are further developed during the upcoming School Congress, they might go through to the school administration and then to the Trustees. According to the Andover website, John Rogers, Advisor to the Head of School for Sustainability, has been asked to lead PA into “a new era of environmental awareness, action and responsibility on campus.” This initiative has been called “Greener Blue.” Former PA Head of School Donald McNamar introduced the concept of a Student Congress to increase interaction between students and faculty. According to Adams, Student Congress, which began 20 years ago, fosters good discussion as well as good relations with faculty. Adams said, “It’s perfect. There’s nothing better. We’ve gotten good feedback.”