Green Team finds SGA funding after budget cuts

By Grace Bertrand and Caroline Haviland

Due to Rider’s universitywide financial crisis in the last fiscal year, the Office of Sustainability’s Green Team, a club for those interested in being a part of the green movement, lost its funding, along with other organizations on campus. 

Not deemed necessary to the university’s operations, the group was forced to get creative and find other ways to raise money and awareness on sustainability.

Beginning last spring semester, efforts were made by a handful of motivated students, including senior environmental science major and Green Team President Maddy Beucler, to have the group become an official club on campus through the Student Government Association.

“We decided to move forward officially with SGA so we could have a student budget to really make our meetings more broad and widespread,” Beucler said.

SGA is able to fund clubs that are accepted as an official organization on campus by the committee through student activity fees to ensure that organization funding is not affected by university struggles.  

Budget Cuts Aftermath

In light of the recent budget cuts that occurred, the Office of Sustainability took a hit when it came to the funding of supplies, events and giveaways such as reusable utensils, straw kits, tote bags and more. 

Rider Director of Sustainability Melissa Greenberg explained how the Green Team has gotten creative in terms of funding events since dealing with the budget cuts. 

“Not having the budget for the giveaways hasn’t been too much of an issue. We’ve had to just learn to educate without props,” Greenberg said. 

Although she understands Rider’s decision, she hopes that the budget cut was placed as a temporary measure, rather than a permanent effect of the university’s financial struggles. 

“It is what it is,” said Greenberg. “With the projection for enrollment to rise, I am very hopeful that I get somewhat of a budget back next year.”

Meeting with over 30 clubs in the fall semester, SGA placed the Green Team on the back burner, according to Greenberg, meaning the club was not able to make its case until the first week of spring semester, although members were ready to present.

Beucler said, “Everything ran really smoothly, but just getting over that mountain was difficult.”

According to Beucler, SGA accommodated each organization’s needs and made sure each club was heard while they navigated an increase in aspiring clubs. 

Prior to their official status, the task of organizing events without funding from the university had been a collaborative effort from the entire Green Team.

“We’ve always had a pretty smooth process, because a lot of our Eco Reps and volunteers are involved in so many other things too,” Beucler said. “We’ve always had a pretty open communication with our team.” 

Eco Reps are paid positions in the organization that host major campus events to educate different areas of campus on sustainability, which include the annual Beach Sweep in collaboration with Clean Ocean Action, Earth Day and Sustainability Day.

The future of the Green Team 

Moving forward, Beucler remains hopeful that the Green Team will continue to hold similar budgets to the one given this semester. 

For now, it will focus on electing a new executive board as three of the six current members are graduating in May. 

The Green Team plans on having its first official meeting after spring break in hopes of meeting new people interested in joining at their flower pot painting event. 

The Green Team also aims to continue past events on campus with other organizations, such as Active Minds, Arts & Crafts Club and the Transfer Student Association.

As the Green Team looks ahead, Greenberg gave advice for passionate students who may be looking to start a club of their own.

She said, “Students that are going through the same process, it’s kind of long and it can be a little frustrating, but they should hang in there … and persevere because they can get their student club.” 

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