Though one of the Student Activities Fee Endowment proposals is behind schedule, organizers of all three initiatives still hope to meet key deadlines as the end of the semester approaches.
Georgetown Energy’s plan to install solar panels on university townhouses and create a fund for sustainability projects, the Student Innovation and Public Service Fund and the New South Student Center renovation were passed by student referendum in late January.
Georgetown Energy, which was allocated $250,000 to install solar panels on university townhouses, expected to choose a solar panel vendor by mid to late February, but has not yet done so. According to project leader Patricia Cipollitti (SFS ’15), the team has evaluated candidates on cost and installation methods and has narrowed its list to two companies.
Members of Georgetown Energy and the university also signed an agreement that required the group to decide on a start date for the project and the number of townhouses that would receive solar panels by April 3. Both of these choices, however, rely on the selection of a vendor and thus have not been made.
Cipollitti expects to select a firm and gain university approval by the end of the semester, and she anticipates that nine or 10 houses will receive solar panels this summer as part of the project’s first round of installations.
Before construction can begin, the plan must be approved by the university administration, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E and the Old Georgetown Board.
If the project remains on schedule, the two neighborhood boards will review the proposal over the summer.
GUSA Director of SAFE Reform Implementation Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) was initially worried that working with the university would slow implementation efforts.
“I was concerned that the university would be slow and drag its feet in this whole process and that the timeline would get away from us and that we wouldn’t be able to install the solar panels by the summer,” Malkerson said. “But thus far they have worked as efficiently as the process allows.”
The SIPS Fund’s 12-member steering committee is also waiting for university approval before it can take its next steps.
According to steering committee chair Paige Lovejoy (COL ’12), the group, which was allocated $1.25 million, is working to have its bylaws approved by the administration.
The steering committee reviewed applications for SIPS’ seven-student executive committee this week and is currently selecting a board of directors which will consist of three undergraduate students and six members who are either faculty or alumni.
The steering committee anticipates that SIPS will launch in the fall in accordance with the group’s original timeline.
Like Georgetown Energy, the team working on the New South Student Center has yet to select a firm with which to partner in construction efforts.
Malkerson, former GUSA President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12), former Vice President Greg Laverriere (COL ’12) and Senator Zach Singer (SFS ’15) are spearheading the implementation of plans for the New South Student Center renovation, which received $2.04 million to expand planned student space in the lower levels of the building.
The SAFE reform funding intends to add a new terrace along with increased study and lounge space to existing plans for renovations to the second story of New South Hall. The majority of the renovations are being financed by the university, and construction is slated to end in summer 2014.
According to Laverriere, the group is selecting an architecture firm from among five candidates. Once the firm is chosen, the NSSC team will start a conversation about the student center’s design and function. The student committee plans to select a partner by the end of the semester.
“New South is something they’ve been trying to build for over a decade now,” Laverriere said. “SIPS is something that will make Georgetown unique in its service to D.C., and with Georgetown Energy, [the university has] been trying to do sustainable things for a long time.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson emphasized the importance of quickly implementing all of the projects funded by SAFE reform.
“The entire SAFE reform process and the implementation represent very thoughtful student initiative and commitment to strengthening Georgetown,” he wrote in an email. “All the projects funded … are excellent ways to serve student needs and interests, and we support each of them.”