Shift in focus for new commission

The new Commission of Environmental Sustainability will have an increased budget come September

Adam DiSimine, environmental sustainability commissioner says new initiatives for the commission this year include a youth mentorship program and a bike shop maintenance site.
Adam DiSimine, environmental sustainability commissioner says new initiatives for the commission this year include a youth mentorship program and a bike shop maintenance site.

A newly-created AMS commission for environmental sustainability will require more funding to operate than its predecessor, the AMS sustainability office.

The AMS executive team—President Morgan Campbell, Vice-President of Operations Ashley Eagan and Vice-President of University Affairs Kieran Slobodin—ran under the acronym CES in the January elections.

At an AMS Assembly in April, a motion was passed to change the AMS Sustainability Office to a commission. After debate, it was named the Commission of Environmental Sustainability (CES.)

Adam DiSimine is the first person to hold the newly created position of environment and sustainability commissioner. Last year, the sustainability office had a $35,000 budget. DiSimine said he doesn’t have projected figures for what the commission’s budget will be.

As a commissioner, DiSimine will earn a standardized salary totaling $22,500—which is $3,500 more than the sustainability coordinator made last year.

“The salary of my position has gone up,” DiSimine, ArtSci ’11 said. “It was a 30-hour position last year. It’s a 40-hour this year.”

The $20,000 Sustainability Action Fund which gets funding from a $2 opt-outable student fee, will offer students the chance to receive funding for their environmental projects. DiSimine said this money was not included in the Sustainability Office’s budget last year.

DiSimine said creating a commission represents an important shift in mindset towards sustainability projects.

“It might seem a little bureaucratic at first,” he said, “but I think on the other side that it represents a shift in attention.”

Before a commission’s budget is presented at AMS assembly for approval, a proposal is drafted by the commissioner throughout the summer.

There are no current plans on how the funding will be divided between the commission’s main initiatives—a youth mentorship program and bike shop maintenance site.

The Youth Mentoring Youth program is centred on post-secondary student-volunteers educating elementary school students on the importance of environmental sustainability. It was previously run by the Kingston Sustainability Centre.

The commission maintained contact with the Kingston Sustainability Centre, which closed on April 30 this year. The centre is currently looking for relocation opportunities.

“Hopefully our organization is going to be able to become an umbrella for all of these other organizations and coordinate efforts a little bit more.” Disimine said.

“With [Kingston Sustainability Centre] assistance, it’ll be nice that we’re not starting from a base level, but that we’ve kind of already got a jump start on things.”

The bike shop is a maintenance site for students who have bikes but lack the equipment to perform repairs.

Previously there were only two committees that existed under the Sustainability Office: an environmental advocacy group and a group that performed green retrofits to manufactured goods, like water conservation systems for showers in student homes.

These student initiatives occurred in conjunction with the Greenovations committee to conserve energy and water in student homes. Both will continue this year.

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