By: Cody Boteler, Senior Editor
In what I think is an unprecedented move on Towson’s campus, a number of environmentally-focused student groups have decided to form an “Environmental Coalition.”
If all goes as planned, these environmental groups—including the Towson University Urban Farm, TU 350 and the Student Environmental Organization—will make up the coalition, which will exist under the umbrella of Enactus, an entrepreneurially-based student group that works to tackle problems though projects.
Representatives from some of the student groups, academic departments on campus and the office of Civic Engagement and Leadership met Friday and decided to pursue the goal of consolidating all the environmental groups on campus into Enactus.
I got to sit in on the meeting. The discussion was dynamic, and everyone present definitely, wholeheartedly, wanted the best for these different student groups. As someone who’s passionate about protecting and preserving our environment, it was exciting to hear that there are people on this campus working toward those goals.
The meeting concluded with people excited at the idea and ready to move forward—but with me wondering a few things about specifics. I want to go through my concerns quickly, because I believe in this program and want the best for it and, like I’ve said in previous editorials, writing critically about programs or institutions that I believe in is one of my ways of contributing—someone’s got to hold the mirror up.
I’m a little concerned about the money and the democracy of this whole thing.
Enactus is already a Package IV student group in the Tiger Stripes program, so they get a budget from the Student Government Association and can apply for supplemental budgets. In addition, since Enactus is a nationwide organization that has a chapter at Towson’s campus, the Towson chapter can apply for different grants from the national level.
Put simply, Enactus (the same student group that opened a Café in Stephens Hall) can pull in a lot of cash and can put that cash to good use—if it’s distributed well to the student groups.
I’m a little worried that, since this kind of thing has never been done before, it might be a bit tricky for some of the smaller environmentally-focused student groups who get absorbed into Enactus to get funding.
I also noticed that not every student group oriented toward the environment was present. Yeah, everyone who was there loved the idea and has already begun working out the kinks, but not every group that has a stake in the environmental coalition was there. Also absent? Representatives from the SGA.
It’s my sincere hope that this environmental coalition works out, and I choose to believe that it will. Maybe that’s the naïve optimist in me, but everyone who was at the meeting seemed like they truly cared about not only our planet, but the student groups that care about the planet, too.
And, as noted by a few people at the meeting, think how impressive a massive grouping of environmentally-focused student groups will look clustered together at an involvement fair.
The idea of this environmental coalition sends a strong message—TU takes the environment seriously. TU takes its student groups seriously. Towson is going to do its part to preserve our environment by empowering its students.