MHC Divest speaks at Senate, calls for vote on proposals


The Mount Holyoke Student Government Association held their weekly Senate meeting in the Blanchard Great Room on Tuesday from 7:30-9:00 p.m. Since the meeting fell on Valentine’s Day, there were pink frosted heart cookies on hand as the meeting addressed student concerns and announcements, executive updates, presentations and words from the Executive Board of SGA. In addition to the representatives from student organizations, residential halls and other groups in the Mount Holyoke community, the MHC Climate Justice Coalition and Val Montesino ’19, the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, were present to speak at the meeting.

Sandra Botha ’18, a Frances Perkins Scholar and chair of orgs, commenced the meeting by opening the floor up to student concerns and announcements. The senator for North Rockefeller Hall stated complaints from residents about the unstocked vending machines and that there should be more snacks at Senate meetings. The MacGregor senator expressed concerns about graffiti on the back of Talcott Greenhouse. Other senators talk- ed about upcoming events including the Mary Potter J-Show this weekend, Health Center drop-ins and MoZone applications for peer education, which are open for next year.

Marwa Mikati ’17, the President of SGA, reminded everyone to fill out the SCC survey. Mikati also talked about her goal to have buses start picking up students from airports. Currently, students can get dropped off at the airports through Auxiliary Services, but there has never been a pickup option.

“People are always getting stuck in airports for like 9 hours, or are stuck paying for cabs from Boston,” Mikati said.

She plans to present further plans for this at the next Senate meeting.

Next, the Senate treasurer, Lan Ha ’17, gave a short PowerPoint presentation of the fall 2016 report, showing financial aspects of student activities on campus.

Montesino spoke about new methods of communicating with the Ways and Means Committee for funding applications. There are office hours offered for students who want to discuss funding applications, ideas for their organizations and to discuss feedback. Montesino summarized the fall 2016 report and explained that since the application deadline of Dec. 4, Ways and Means has reviewed 50 applications and allocated a total of $35,000.

The Mount Holyoke Climate Coalition presented their initiative “Break up with fossil fuels, it’s time for MHC to divest.” Five students gave a detailed presenta- tion on divestment issues and actions on campus.

The students took turns speaking about climate change, the carbon bubble and their goals for the school regarding the subject.

The Climate Coalition seeks to “re- direct MHC’s investments away from the fossil fuel industry in order to build a just and sustainable future.”

Their three-step agenda and proposal, which the coalition wants to bring to next week’s Senate meeting, includes freezing investment in the fossil fuel industry, divesting from the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies and investing in alternative energy.

According to their presentation, Mount Holyoke has about $20 million indirectly invested in the fossil fuel industry. They also said that there has been strong faculty and student support in past years for this cause.

The group is demanding a vote by the board of trustees next week on their proposals.