ASMSU passes coal resolution, additional bills
Representatives from ASMSU’s Student Assembly passed a resolution Thursday to urge the university to abandon the burning of coal at the T.B. Simon Power Plant in favor of renewable energy sources.
ASMSU is MSU’s undergraduate student government.
The resolution passed by consent, meaning the representatives were unanimously in favor.
Talya Tavor, president of MSU Beyond Coal, told the assembly during the meeting MSU currently has the largest on-campus coal plant in the country.
“The coal plant burns over 250,000 tons of coal every single year,” Tavor said. “We burn more coal than any other campus.”
She said the organization has been petitioning the university to seek other energy methods, such as solar panels.
“We’ve been gaining an incredible amount of support to transition to 100 percent renewable energy,” she said.
Tavor said many students are unaware MSU has the largest on-campus coal-burning plant in the country.
“The vast majority of the time, the type of response is complete shock, confusion or even anger,” she said.
Although transitioning from coal to another energy source would cost the university money, Tavor said MSU previously has been fined for violating Environmental Protection Agencystandards.
“We had to pay $27,000 for that,” she said. “We’ve repeated this in the past. It’s happened in 2007 and 2008.”
Tavor also emphasized the danger of burning coal.
“There’s a limit on how much you can emit for a reason,” she said. “It’s harmful. These are pollutants.”
The assembly also passed several other bills to allocate funds for a variety of philanthropic efforts in the community.
The representatives passed by consent four other bills to allocate $3,000 to the Hometown Housing Partnership, $5,000 to the East Lansing Police Athletic League, $2,600 to Operation Freefall and $5,000 to MSU Safe Place.
The money donated to the Hometown Housing Partnership would create an endowment fund to provide down-payment assistance on a home for MSU graduates. External Vice Chairman Steve Marino said during the meeting the intent is to give back to East Lansing and encourage MSU graduates to remain in the community.
Marino said the East Lansing Police Athletic League supports East Lansing police who volunteer to participate in athletics with children.
“They encourage youth basketball leagues and recreational activities to deter juvenile crime,” he said. “The city of East Lansing’s budget is taking another hit, and they don’t know what the funding level would be. A donation to sustain this program would be a great token to the community.”
Operation Freefall is a sky-diving event that raises funds and increases awareness about ending sexual violence. Marino said the allocated funds would go to purchase sky-diving event tickets, which then would be raffled off to students during the special elections being held at the end of February.
“What we were hoping to do is raffle them off in pairs during the special vote for the constitution change,” he said. “That way we’re making a charitable donation and also enticing people to vote in the election.”
The special election is for the ASMSU constitutional change that would allow the body to merge the two assemblies into one General Assembly.
The final bill allocated $2,500 from ASMSU’s special projects fund to make as a charitable donation to MSU Safe Place, a program that offers support and services to victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
Marino said he would supply the additional $2,500 from his own executive discretionary funding to meet the traditional $5,000 ASMSU donates every year.
“Every year MSU Safe Place has a charitable event,” he said. “It’s a five-kilometer walk and traditionally ASMSU has donated every year to it.”