Indiana Daily Student

Students emphasize sustainability, collaboration to new IUSG leaders at town hall Wednesday

<p>IU senior Abbey Krulik holds a sign that says &quot;Capitalism will cost us the earth&quot; during a rally held Tuesday by Sunrise Bloomington calling on the IU Foundation to divest from fossil fuels. IU Student Government invited student organizations to share ideas on how to improve IU, such as developing an official climate action plan, during a town hall Wednesday night.</p>

IU senior Abbey Krulik holds a sign that says "Capitalism will cost us the earth" during a rally held Tuesday by Sunrise Bloomington calling on the IU Foundation to divest from fossil fuels. IU Student Government invited student organizations to share ideas on how to improve IU, such as developing an official climate action plan, during a town hall Wednesday night.

IU Student Government leaders expressed the importance of working with student organizations to implement policies that better address students’ concerns at a town hall organized by IUSG’s executive branch Wednesday evening. 

IUSG outgoing vice president Madeline Dederichs, president-elect Kyle Seibert and vice president-elect Bell Pastore invited students to express concerns and goals they want the incoming administration to address.

“As we're wrapping up our administration, this is a great opportunity to also be able to create this transition into the next administration,” Dederichs said. 

Dederichs said IUSG wants to create a space where students are comfortable talking to members of IUSG and bringing their ideas to light. 

Director of Student Advocacy Josie Pipkin, who spearheaded the event, said IUSG is a student advocacy group that works with other student organizations to improve IU based on students' concerns and ideas. 

“We want to be really transparent about what we have gathered over this past year and share that with you all and get your feedback on that,” Pipkin said. 

Pipkin said members of IUSG have opportunities to talk to IU administration that most students don’t have, and they want to use those opportunities to advocate for students. 

During the town hall, participants separated into breakout rooms led by executive policy directors. The four breakout rooms focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Advocacy Task Force Report, Academic Transparency and Mental Health, and IU Climate Action and Campus Safety.

“It was great to be able to go into the rooms and listen to your concerns and see what everyone would like to see from student government and how we can make tangible changes,” Pastore said. 

Co-Director of Sustainability Leo Banks led a breakout room and talked with members of student climate organizations about how they can collaborate.

He said the main focus of these organizations is creating a climate action plan for IU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and divest from fossil fuel companies. 

“IU has things that they're working on, but they're all really small scale things and it's all stuff that should have been done 10 or 15 years ago,” Banks said. “They’re behind on the curve, and it's going to take a real commitment to a real plan.”

Banks said one of the main limitations of IUSG’s advocacy work is the limited time students have to make changes before they graduate. 

“It helps if you can be there for a long time to build trust with people, so we need to maintain momentum through different cohorts of students,” Banks said.

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