Yesterday’s Student Assembly (S.A.) meeting focused on the issues of renewable energy and international student visas, both considerations central to the University.
Gregory Andeck ’03, a representative from Kyoto Now!, offered a resolution that would establish an endowment for environmentally friendly programs.
In 2001, the University signed an agreement with Kyoto Now! that would require it to reduce its carbon monoxide emissions to 7 percent below what they were in the ’90s.
However, according to Andeck, with the additional construction of such large projects as Duffield Hall and the Life Science Building, the campus is growing too quickly for the University to meet those goals.
The resolution will encourage Cornell to create an endowment that will attempt to solve this problem by first focusing on the possibility of wind energy purchase.
The short-term goal of Kyoto Now!, according to Andeck, is for the University to purchase 10 percent of its energy from wind sources.
“If Cornell were to set up an endowment for renewable energy it will make Cornell the largest purchaser of wind energy in the country,” Andeck said.
Utilizing wind energy for 10 percent of the electricity budget would cause only a 1 percent increase in the budget as a whole. It would also establish Cornell as a leader in environmental conservation, Andeck said.
Later, the endowment would be used to fund other renewable energy programs.
According to Andeck, the administration has reacted positively to the proposal. The next step would be to find alumni donors to the endowment.
Assembly members approved this resolution and also another resolution drafted in support of international students whose study has been disrupted or suspended because they have had difficulties obtaining visas.
Brendan O’Brien, director of the International Students and Scholars Office, discussed the situation with members. “It’s been a difficult year,” O’Brien said.
Over the last year, according to O’Brien, international students have been subjected to increasing scrutiny by the government. Cornell has approximately 3,200 international students and 1,000 international visiting faculty and researchers.
So far, no students have been denied a visa because of security reasons, but around 20 to 30 students have experienced extended delays.
“Ever since the terrorist attacks, the scrutiny has increased manifold,” said Stuti Mandala ’04, vice president for finance. According to Mandala, restrictive policies have made the process of obtaining a visa much more difficult for students than in the past.
One Assembly member, Brandon Ashley ’06, questioned why the S.A. should trouble itself with the plight of only a small number of students.
“It’s a small number, so you can say it’s not a big deal, but when you’re one of those students, it is a big deal,” O’Brien said.
Josh Bronstein ’05, vice president for internal operations, agreed.
“We are not the same without those twenty to thirty students on campus,” he said.
Archived article by Mackenzie Damon