The College Council (CC) Great Ideas Campaign, launched late last semester, has succeeded in sponsoring a number of student projects since its inception. Among the ideas funded are reusable Grab ’n’ Go bags, a bike sharing program and a student garden, all of which will be implemented within the next two semesters. Other initiatives that used Great Ideas funding, such as Winter Carnival’s Olympic Gala and the new video game library in Sawyer, were joint efforts between CC representatives and members of the College community.
The impetus behind the campaign was CC’s belief that students had ideas for improving life around campus, but no resources to enact them. To provide students with funding, CC treasurer Rachel Hudson ’10 led efforts to pool the money from the accounts of now-defunct clubs. “College Council was hoping that the Great Ideas campaign would allow any Williams student with an idea to make it happen,” Hudson said. After soliciting proposals, CC judged the viability of ideas based on logistics and cost. A CC representative was assigned to each idea deemed viable in order to assist the student in enacting it.
To bring back reusable Grab ’n’ Go bags, Mopati Morake ’11 and Will Slack ’11 discussed the plan with Chris Abayasinghe, assistant director of Dining Services. Due in part to this planning, Dining Services will no longer offer paper bags at Grab ’n ’ Go beginning next fall. Instead, the College will provide all students with machine-washable bags for students to use over their four years at the College. In addition to funding from the CC and the Great Ideas campaign, purchase of the bags will be supported by Dining Services and the Zilkha Center. “The point is that having paper bags makes no sense,” Morake said. “People taking them and eating their food 10 steps away is so wasteful, and is hardly preparing students for responsible citizenship.”
One project students can expect to see enacted by the end of the year is the bike sharing program currently being worked out. The program, to be implemented after spring break, will allow students to sign up for bike sharing without any registration fee and receive a personalized code that will allow them to access one of 16 keys in a card-accessible box in Paresky. These keys will correspond to locks to the 16 bikes that will be available near the north entrance to Paresky. Students will be able to use the bikes as they please and return them within a certain time frame, although the exact length of the rental time has yet to be determined. Should the bike sharing venture prove successful, CC will look into expanding it to include more bikes and possibly more locations around campus.
Other projects in progress include an on-campus garden slated for this spring. Great Ideas funding will also be channeled towards reinvigorating the ’82 Grill. CC explained these various efforts in pamphlets distributed around campus last week.