SEFA: Senate votes green

Hannah Ellett

During the ASWC Senate meeting on Monday, Oct. 10, the Smaller Environmental Footprint Extension Act (SEFA) was passed with a unanimous vote in the hopes of making Whittier College a more environmentally conscious campus. The bill will be sent to President Sharon Herzberger and Vice President and Dean of Students Dr. Joel Perez, among others.

The new bill expands on the first SEFA act that was passed in April 2015. “The original bill focused solely on water conservation on campus,” ASWC Senate Environmental Advocate and junior Maddie McMurray said. “The purpose of the extension bill was to expand SEFA to be more inclusive and aware of other natural resources used on campus, including, but not limited to energy and waste generation.”

The amended bill is intended to produce a more resource-inclusive SEFA, in hopes of directly affecting the environmental footprint of both the College and its students. An email was sent to the student body inviting students to review the amended act and attend the Senate meeting with any concerns or support they might have.

One of the most noteworthy issues within the act addresses water conservation, such as the use of sprinklers. The act asks that the College strongly consider replacing all leaking fixtures with new ones so that they are more environmentally friendly. The act would also ask for theinstallment of timed faucets for both showers, and sinks along with low-flow or dual flush options for toilets.

Another significant addition to the act addressed paper waste within the residence halls. The act asked students to reconsider over-printing flyers when advertising and called for replacing all paper towel dispensers in the College with energy-efficient hand dryers.

 Students raised concern about the noise from hand dryers within residential buildings, so the act now requests that the College consider residential hall students and only install hand dryers in academic buildings.

In an effort to further decrease the amount of waste generated on campus, the act calls for the implementation of garbage-sorting bins and for all garbage bins on campus to be replaced with solar-powered compacting trashcans.  The act also hopes that the College will gather green waste from the Campus Inn and The Spot and implement a composting system instead of throwing everything away.

SEFA also requests the incorporation of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting in all buildings, including residential halls. Another hope is to add clean energy fixtures into existing buildings such as solar tubes and solar panels. “I’ve been working on this [act] since Spring 2016,” McMurray said. “and I really saw it as a springboard to show the school where we could look to be more sustainable.”

Another brand new addition to the act is the concept of using the weight room as an energy source. Treadmills and weight machines could be used to generate electricity when used. 

The new version of the act addresses issues within the weight room of the Athletic Department, and will therefore also be sent to Head Athletic Trainer Keith Candelaria and Director of Strength and Conditioning Mike Senyo.

“I hope to see more students begin to take an interest in ways they can alter their routines and habits to be more sustainable,” said McMurray. “If students come up with alternatives or other ideas, I’d love to hear from them. The greatest amount of change is possible when the largest amount of people are passionate about something.”