The suggestion to spend $10,000 from the Consolidated Reserves Fund on a “green roof” garden area for the Sentara Hospital in Yorktown sparked debate among senators at this week’s Student Assembly meeting.
The bill in question was the Sentara Hospital Health Act, sponsored by Sens. Michael Douglass ’11 and Steven Nelson ’10.
Sentara Green-roof Steering Committee member Scott Morris ’10 cited the benefits of the project, including fostering a positive relationship between students and the community.
The hospital would publicize the grant and expand internships.
Environmental science professor Randy Chambers said that green roofs act as a buffer for acidic rainfall running downstream to the Chesapeake Bay. He also cited studies that suggest the garden would save the hospital $50,000 in energy costs per year.
The total cost for the entire roof is $200,000, and the committee hoped the initial grant from the SA would inspire other groups to cover the remaining $190,000.
Sen. Sarah Rojas ’10 argued against granting 5 percent of the Consolidated Reserve budget for this project, adding that students already give back to the community through service and other outlets.
“It breaks my heart every time a student organization comes to us asking for money and we have to turn them down,” Rojas said. “This money is for those organizations and would be misallocated.”
A 10-7 vote sent the act back to the Finance Committee for further review.
“By passing this bill, we could have made a clear statement that we believe in integration between the College and the community,” Douglass said. “As the first major donors, we could have demonstrated true, decisive leadership, the sort of leadership that I believe we were elected to show.”
In other business, funding was granted to Lips, a new female sexuality magazine. The publication had sought funds from the Publications Council, but the request was denied due to the editorial standards of the magazine.
The SA was not able to give money to help start the publication because of its political nature. Lips co-founder Annie Brown ’10 used a loophole in activities funding bylaws by asking for funding for an event that would require the publication of Lips.
“This would make a statement that the actions of the Publication Council [are] unacceptable,” Nelson said.
Sen. Devan Barber ’08 agreed, stating that this funding would usually be inappropriate, but granting money in this case would reverse the decision of the council.