Senate cuts solar funding

By Nick Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 10, 2005

Student leaders will have to look for an alternative source of funding for the Project Solar Kick-Off Week after not receiving the necessary funds from the senate.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate approved $150 for funding the weeklong festivities in a 7-2 vote, but this amount is almost $600 less than the $748.54 originally requested.

The $150 will go toward covering balloons, helium and donation jars.

The kick-off week is set to begin Oct. 17 and is expected to include a raffle, dunk tank and information about the solar energy campaign.

The Project Solar campaign's goal is to begin installing solar panels on UA buildings to save energy.

"Its purpose is to generate buzz and be student oriented," said Tyler Carrell, ASUA chief of staff and finance junior.

The kick-off week is the first step in gathering money to fund the estimated $150,000 project, Carrell said.

"As soon as this happens, we are going full speed with fundraising efforts," said ASUA President Cade Bernsen, a political science senior. While senators like Matt Boepple, a political science sophomore, promised to fund part of the kick-off week out of his own project budget, other senators expressed discontent for the project.

Sen. Rhonda Tubbs, a business economics senior, said she thought the kick-off week lacked purpose.

"I am 100 percent in support of solar energy," Tubbs said. "I am not in support of the kick-off."

Tubbs said she thought the money could be better spent on a fundraising competition between clubs and Greek Life.

Sen. Ryan Erickson, a public management and policy junior, said he voted to lower the kick-off week funding because he thought the event did not have direction.

"This reminds me of writing a topic sentence for a paragraph that you have no idea of what it will contain," Erickson said.

Even without the senate approving the full amount, the kick-off week will not be postponed, Bernsen said.If the solar project goes as planned, the UA Visitor Center will be the first building to receive solar panels by May 2006, Bernsen said.