Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Debate V: Admin with Issue of the Day Goodness!

Today marked the second VP Administration debate. I use the term loosely. Generally speaking a debate involves a clash of ideas, and usually some disagreement. These candidates? Well, they just don't. They generally agree. Students need to be more involved in renovation decisions, there needs to be less red tape for SAC, we need to be more responsive to commuter students, the SUB needs to be more accessible, and we need to plan for the advent of University Town. Not to diminish the above points; they're all fair and valid. And I'm glad they're priorities. But they don't help us distinguish the candidates.

(The only conflict was Lougheed the Barbarian's not at all staged fight with a brutal assailant. But even more impressive were the reflexes of the J-School photogs; they bounded to cover it as though it was a race for a Pulitzer.)

That having been said, the candidates are still distinguishable. It's quite clear that Suvina To views her job through the lens of a SAC veteran, someone who has a very in-depth understanding of the student bureaucracy, and its inherent hurdles. By contrast, Sarah Naiman views the job through the lens of someone who's focused on student life, and is very interested in building/developing it through the job. These are two good, valid perspectives, and either would make a very good VP Admin.

This corner was disappointed, though, with the lack of depth they showed on SUB Sustainability. Neither had thoroughly thought through (say that three times fast) how to make the SUB a more sustainable building, one that can serve as an example of green buildings for students. Only "more recycling" and "reduce energy use" were really considered.

When I was running Imagine UBC, one of my colleagues had a great idea, which I'm proud to appropriate for these purposes. Which was the "sustainability audit." It's refreshingly simple: ask the UBC Sustainability office (or Sustainability Ambassadors) to go through the building, observe its operations, and come up with recommendations to make it more sustainable. With Imagine, we were able to reduce waste by a significant order of magnitude. I have no idea whether the AMS has done such a holistic review in the past; if they have, have the recommendations been implemented? (I also think there's huge strategic value in engaging directly with the University on questions of sustainability.)

The real value of this site is to hear other opinions, though. So we're asking you: what, in your experience, can be done to make the SUB more sustainable? And by sustainable, we mean in every way (though with an obvious bias towards the "greening" element). We heard the "People's Potato" in an earlier comment, and that was a very interesting idea.... any others?