Members of GUSA’s Finance and Appropriations committee finalized a proposal Wednesday that allocates funds from the Student Activities Fund Endowment to the Social Innovation and Public Service Fund, Georgetown Energy and the New South Student Center renovation effort.
The Georgetown University Student Association senate will vote on the document Sunday. If it passes, students will vote on the proposal in a referendum from Jan. 24 to Jan. 26.
In marathon meetings held Tuesday and Wednesday, Fin/App reviewed endowment proposals submitted by the three student groups. The committee voted unanimously to allocate $1.25 million to the SIPS Fund, $250,000 to Georgetown Energy’s initiative to install solar panels on the roofs of university townhouses, and $1.6 million to the construction of an outdoor terrace on the south side of the New South Student Center.
The Healy Pub proposal, originally a primary recommendation of the commission set up to review all ideas, was deemed infeasible.
The remaining $450,000 of the $3.57 million endowment was allocated for the renovation of theNSSC’s first level. Because this construction is projected to cost more than $600,000, the remainder of the construction costs for the first level will be paid using interest gained on the endowment. Interest gained after the renovation costs are met will be given to the SIPS Fund, should it be passed in the referendum.
Proponents of the New South renovation project also requested funding for three fireplaces and a skylight, which the Finance and Appropriations Committee elected not to provide.
Senator Zach Singer (SFS ‘15) argued that, of the three projects, the New South Student Center would make the most tangible difference for Georgetown students.
“I see NSSC as an opportunity too good to pass up, and too good to shortchange,” he said.
But in Tuesday’s meeting, SIPS fund co-founder Nick Troiano (COL ’12), criticized the New South Student Center’s proposal, questioning its long-term impact and influence outside of the university.
“Anyone can think of ways to make their own lives marginally better. How do we use our own potential to make a difference?” Troiano said.
Troiano said that he was ultimately satisfied with the funding that the committee allocated to the SIPS fund, which plans to use its endowment money to support student service projects, in the proposal.
Georgetown Energy initially requested funding for solar panel additions to the roofs of 43 townhouses, but revised its request when it determined that some roofs might not be able to physically support the instillation. Fin/App’s plan would allocate funding for all 43 townhouses, while money that is not spent by May 2012 will be placed in Georgetown Energy’s Green Revolving Loan Fund. The GRLF will be managed by the SIPS Fund and fund future student-run green energy projects.
Georgetown Energy’s proposal aroused controversy Tuesday when Senator Daniel LaMagna (COL ‘13) announced that two of his constituents, Tyler Eldridge (COL ’13) and Evan Abrams (SFS ’12), claimed that Georgetown Energy had pilfered concepts from their own plans for a revolving sustainability loan fund, which would be facilitated by a student group called “The Fund.”
In Tuesday’s meeting, members of Georgetown Energy refuted the accusations, pointing to the existence of approximately 170 similar green funds at other institutions. The group also claimed to have several emails proving that the fund was discussed before Georgetown Energy was aware of The Fund. Finance and Appropriations Chair Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) said that the accusations were a separate issue from the meeting’s student activity endowment allocation discussion.
Abrams declined to comment because of continuing discussions between The Fund and Georgetown Energy. Members of Georgetown Energy declined to be interviewed for similar reasons.
In Wednesday’s meeting, Malkerson said that the two groups had come to a mutual agreement and will submit a joint letter of recommendation to the SIPS Fund on how to best implement the GRLF.
“Both sides are happy,” he said.