Students of Pomona College,
In weekly meetings, each Senator is obligated to periodically “report out” from the committees they chair, to keep the Senate informed of their activities. As the year draws to a close, I’d like to highlight some of the many initiatives and accomplishments of the ASPC Senate and student committees.
The ASPC overhauled its web presence, and is in the process of migrating to an upgraded site, which incorporates electronic form submission for budget requests, room/space reservations for events, and alcohol funding. The improved online interface and enhanced paperless functionality will make ASPC operations more transparent and accessible to all students. We’ve worked with Google to create email addresses for student organizations, and a new platform for enhanced communication between clubs leaders, students and ASPC officers.
For on-campus activities, the ASPC Senate coordinated with the 5-C student governments to launch the Claremont Colleges Music Festival, bring Lupe Fiasco to Big Bridges, and improve 5-C unity. In addition to their major annual parties, our Committee on Campus Life and Activities (CCLA) also ran a wide variety of programming, ranging from sponsoring an all-you-can-eat Dodgers’ game trip to the “puppies for finals week” event next Wednesday. Between all the campus organizations, Pomona students enjoyed no fewer than one thousand public events that took place on and around campus this year.
The ASPC was active in environmental affairs this year as well, partnering with PEAR and the Sustainability Integration Office to organize Earth Week, Majora Carter’s visit, and the Dorm Energy Challenge. To promote our sports teams, the ASPC hosted homecoming events, “Dunk the Dean,” and a sports journalism contest. In academic affairs, the Senate discussed the adverse affects a mandated grade distribution would have on our collaborative academic culture. Each class president produced an incredible amount of programming to bring their classes together.
Several senators, working through the Student Affairs Committee, implemented changes in alcohol policy regarding drinking games, instituted gender-neutral room draw, codified Walker Wall policies, and improved judicial processes surrounding sexual assault and misconduct. The ASPC was involved in decisions to open student parking at Tranquada, return ice cream to the dining halls, lobby for continued on-campus storage, replace the sound system in the SCC basement, bring lox, couches and cable TV to the Coop, and many other projects.
To support this increase in activity, and increase our ability to fund student organizations, a major focus of the ASPC this year was the identification of new revenue streams. In the fall, the ASPC entered into a partnership with Amazon.com, and was able to collect six – 15 percent of purchases made by users who entered through our link (aspc.pomona.edu/amazon). Students have used this program to buy not just textbooks but all kinds of items, and have helped add $1,500 to our budget to date. As the popularity of this program grows among the Pomona community, the ASPC will have more financial resources to serve the student body. It is partly due to the implementation of this program that the ASPC was able to forego its annual student fee increase, putting more money in your pocket.
Another source of financial growth for the ASPC is our invested reserves, which have a market value of over $400,000. The ASPC currently earns a healthy return on $200,000 invested in socially responsible securities and index funds. To invest the other half of our reserves, the Senate is considering an local sustainability investment that will generate outsized returns and also decrease the environmental impact of the College.
Haldeman Pool, heated by natural gas, is one of the most energy intensive facilities on campus. This environmental impact can be significantly reduced with the installation of a solar water heating system, but would require a sizable upfront investment. The ASPC has entered into negotiations with the College to underwrite the cost of this installation, and derive an annual return from the savings generated by the solar water heaters, which offset the demand for natural gas. The plan is to install 12,000 square feet of solar collectors on the roof of the Rains Center, and harness the sun’s energy to heat the pool. A 2009 study estimated that the savings generated will repay the installation cost in only three years. This program will significantly reduce the energy footprint of the College, and, due to its astronomical internal rate of return, bring more financial resources to the ASPC and student organizations.
At Pomona, it is our students who shape campus life, and I would like to thank the student body for the opportunity to work with so many motivated people who selflessly strive to make our college a better place. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your ASPC President.
Peace and love,