Program Facilitators on SSI History : AY 2009

Jesse Boudart

Jesse Boudart

Challenges Faced
Being the 2nd year of operations, growth of students and community involvement was very important. Trying to find ways to incubate student ideas into projects was difficult. When projects or ideas became reality, hiking them through OSU administration was challenging given little initial knowledge of how the system worked. Further, myself and Nathan Jones (The ASOSU Director of Environmental Affairs at the time) felt the SSI organizational structure could be improved. Approving this new structure required buy-in from the previous coordinators of SSI.

What was Accomplished
Without the fantastic staff and volunteers, none of the following programs and projects would have been achieved. The Operation Green Beaver program, started by Nathan Jones trained volunteers to help them become confident in running projects and environmental campaigns. We brought 20 students to PowerShift '09 in Washington DC, the premier national environmental organizing conference. The SSI funded the OSU Permaculture Alliance to design and build a Permaculture Garden. Capital was given for the beginning of the popular Bicycle co-op started by Jacob Kollen. The Revolving Loan Fund was started by the SSI Fee Board, principally by Mike Koch. Wonderful energy efficiency upgrades and meticulous care to the SSC and garden were done by Michaela Hammer. The SSI structure was modified for issue specific positions.

Words of Wisdom for Future
A large budget is great. Utilizing the budget is difficult because we must use students funds wisely and environmentally. Giving SSI coordinators a specific budget and power to use it might lend greater responsibility and dispersion of funds. Setting up student projects integrated with academic studies is a win-win for sustainability experiential learning. Steve Cook’s Geo 300 class set a precedent, while the student Engineering field has room for expansion.