A greener vision was around the Student Senate table Thursday night.
Madison Johansen, an ambassador for the service learning program at Drake, spoke to the senators about a grant the program received to build the Des Moines Urban Youth Learning Garden. The grant was received on Sept. 2 and will fund the building of the garden and help sustain environmental studies. The grant totals over $44,000. The goal of the garden and the grant is to “promote outdoor and environmental learning” with the youth of Des Moines.
The service learning program is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club. Part of the grant allows environmental studies students to write curriculum for the boys and girls club and then lets those children take home fresh food.
“Our goal, as per part of the grant requires is to have 2,500 youth be actively involved in the garden,” Johansen said. She added that with the involvement of Drake students they’d be able to reach that goal. She said this garden held “huge potential” in bridging the gap between the Drake community and the Drake neighborhood. Its location is on the corner of 24th street and Forest Ave., pending approval from the Board of Trustees.
Johansen said the university will have two work study students working at the garden, so it will remain sufficient once the funds from the grant run out. Johansen also said she was looking for other student groups to get involved.
The garden also marks the first dual-language signs on campus — it will have English and Spanish titles.
At the moment, the ground breaking for the garden is up in the air, until the trustees approve it, but Johansen hopes to break ground in either late fall or early spring if at all possible.
After the presentation of the garden, Sodexo General Manager Dannie Crozier spoke to the senators about the changes coming to the dining halls on campus.
Crozier said composting will start either today or Tuesday in Hubbell South.
“Soon, the trash cans will disappear,” Crozier said. Students would instead send everything back on the conveyer belt and workers would sort what can and cannot be
Crozier fielded questions from the senators about the cost of composting. He said it should be “zero cost.”
“The amount that will deter from going to the landfill should pay for the amount that the company charges to pick up the compost,” Crozier said.
They will also track it to see if it changes throughout time, Sodexo is still working through the process.
The major change will be the lack of straws in Hubbell South because they do not compost down and contaminate the compost. Eventually Crozier said he hopes the composting moves into Quad Creek.
Other questions led to the changes in meal-to-flex dollar conversions. This year the dollar amount changed from $5 per meal converted to $4 per meal. This is to keep cost increases down. The products usually bought with flex dollars, Crozier said, are more expensive and he wants to keep costs down in the long run.
There is also now a cap of 50 meals to be converted. Crozier said the average amount of meals converted each round was about 50 meals.
During Senator Reports, Sen. Zach Keller said he and Sen. Ekta Haria were working on bringing ZimRide — an online carpooling website — to campus.
Then, Sen. Joey Gale spoke about the upgrade of the Wi-Fi on campus and the strategic plan for technology on campus.
The strategic plan works to bring the “next gen classroom” and “virtual desktop info structures” to campus. The virtual desktop would allow students to just plug their computers into a hook-up and have all of the programs needed for that lab.
Currently, CenturyLink is having hiccups in transitioning the Internet on campus, but Gale said the upgrade is “moving along.”
Sen. Emily Grimm said about 250 proximity cards had been ordered for the 24-hour study space in Cowles Library and more were on the way.
Treasurer Michael Riebel distributed the breakdown of the annual budget to the senators so they could keep track of money being allocated.
Vice President David Karaz served previous notice on a motion for changing the proxy procedures for the governing body. Currently, a senator sends a proxy whenever he or she cannot attend a meeting. The senators must alert Karaz of their absence, their proxy and their votes for the coming meeting 48 hours before the meeting. The motion changes the procedure to 24 hours before the meeting because that is when the senators find out about any motions on the table.
The bylaw amendment will be voted on during its next meeting.