By Leo Proechel, Staff Writer
Each semester, Warren Wilson Student Caucus gives away money to students with fresh ideas. This semester, it had $2,534 allotted for this purpose. Over the past few weeks, students have been petitioning their projects, and Caucus has been deciding how much money to give to whom. Here is an overview of some of the projects that will be receiving funding from Caucus this semester.
Recycling Bin Initiative
One large sum of money will go towards an initiative to improve recycling practices on campus. The project will be headed by Patrick Linstrom and other members of the Recycling crew. Linstrom received money last semester for the reusable mug distribution at the Owl’s Nest. His new plan involves placing recycling bins in every dorm room on campus, which he hopes will encourage students to recycle. ”The recycling crew is on a mission,” said Linstrom. ”Right now, all you folks have is a trash can, so lots of people just fill them full of empty beer bottles and stuff and just dump them in the trash, which is not cool or sustainable.” Using Caucus grant money on top of its own funds, recycling crew will start by purchasing 63 bins to place in Sunderland and Vining. Caucus plans to give $500 to this cause.
Divest! Warren Wilson College
Another sum of money will go toward the Warren Wilson College Divestment Campaign. This group of students wishes to convince the administration to cut investments from all fossil fuel industries. They will use Caucus grant money to buy promotional materials and pay guest speakers, such as experts in the field of sustainable and responsible investment, to visit campus and deliver lectures to the community. Caucus plans to give $270 to this cause.
Magic: The Gathering
Some Caucus money is also going toward recreational activities, such as “Magic: The Gathering” events. Since their first Caucus grant in spring of 2013, Magic event coordinators have hosted four events, which have involved drafting–a type of game play that involves building a deck from booster packs. Originally, cards that participants obtained during a game would be given back to the community pool after an event, but participants felt an attachment to their hard-earned cards. With about a dozen attendees at each event, a $15 entry fee, along with caucus grant money has since sufficed to purchase enough cards to allow participants to keep the cards they obtain in a draft. With this semester’s grant, coordinators hope to drop the entry fee to $10. Caucus plans to give $130 to this cause.
The Paddling Team
The paddling team has asked for a Caucus grant to pay for transportation and competition entry fees. Consisting of kayakers and canoers of all ages and experience levels, the team has qualified for and won both national and Olympian awards. Maintaining the paddling team is very expensive, costing almost $1,000 to participate in a single race. The team receives some funding from Warren Wilson, but must independently allocate the majority of its funds. Caucus plans to give $664 to this cause.
The Warren Wilson Step Team wants to add color and light (black light) to dance performances. The Step Team is a group of students who practice and perform synchronized rhythm and percussive beats made up of slaps and hits from dancers’ bodies. They are asking Caucus to pay for black lights that can be used by any performance group, team, or collective that might wish to have them. Specifically, the lights are intended to be used in Bryson Gym at the WWC Dance Showcase, as well as in other performances in which they may be useful. The lights will be premiered by the Step Team at their finale performance at the Circus scheduled for May. Caucus plans to give $70 to this cause.
Ethan Smalley of Outdoor Programs Crew has requested money for another sport. He wishes to purchase holds for the Climbing Wall. Many old holds have recently been thrown away, but no new holds have been purchased. All money available for Outdoor Programs has been used for safety pads. These new handholds, he said, would “add diversity to the types of holds we already have and allow for new and interesting moves and sequences on the wall.” Caucus plans to give $370 to this cause.
Caucus is also funding an event that already took place–the Earth First! Organizer’s Conference Service Trip. This was a conference that took place from February 20 to February 24 in Palmdale, Florida. The trip was designed to teach about current issues in environmental and social justice, such as extractive industries and genetic engineering. It involved workshops, trainings, discussion groups, and networking opportunities, workshops which would allow students to become more effective community leaders. They are asking Caucus only for gas money. Caucus plans to give $80 to this cause.
In response to racial incidents on campus last semester, a handful of individuals want to bring Adam Falkner, a New York City-based poet, performer, essayist, full-time public high school teacher, and educational consultant, to conduct a series of workshops on campus. These workshops would involve dialogue around many “isms,” including race and gender. Falkner uses creative writing and theater to explore these issues. The workshops, not including other expenses, will cost $5,000 to provide. Caucus plans to give $450 to this cause.
The above projects will be implemented over the course of the current semester, with the intention of expanding and diversifying opportunities for Warren Wilson students.