SGA’s Green-For-Gold Ambitions

During the week of April 12-18, the Student Government Association, in accordance with Dining Services, Student Life, Residential Life, and the Bookstore, put on the Green-for- Gold exchange. The exchange had students exchange greenbacks for Sacagawea gold coins. The exchange happened all over the campus, and the purpose was to show the city of Burlington that students make a difference downtown by contributing to the local economy.According to Stephanie Bennett, former SGA COLA chair who was in charge of the project, said that the school exchanged around $2,500. “I do know that Marriot exchanged somewhere around $1000, the SGA exchanged around $1236, and from what I understand, a lot of students exchanged money downtown.” Even after all of the exchange of money, some were concerned that the exchange did not make a big difference. City Councilor Ian Carleton said he did not hear anything about the Green for Gold project. “I did not hear anything about it, or its impact downtown,” said Carleton. “I heard about it during a College Democrats event on campus, but other than that, I heard nothing about it. “There may have been a copy of a letter to the Council in our supplemental materials, but it never came up at a council meeting and nobody spoke to the council about it.” Despite the lack of buzz downtown, many in the SGA feel that the exchange was a success. “I consider it a great success that we could rally students to take action on their own behalf, so that as a student body we made a greater statement,” said SGA President Joe Thibeault. “There is a possibility of taking the same action again, and we will be working throughout the summer and year to form a better relation with the city of Burlington.” Bennett considered the operation only a mild success. “It’s incredibly difficult to motivate a whole population of UVM students when advertising is so difficult on this campus,” said Bennett. “For example, one day I put up tons of posters, literally two hours later when I went to my class, a good portion of them were completely covered up. However, I feel that the students who did get involved were really psyched about the whole concept.” Carleton feels that the lack of response from the town has to do with a lack of communication. “This points to a very important problem-communication between SGA and the City Government, or lack thereof,” said Carleton. “This is nobody’s fault, but it has to improve. “Projects such as Green for Gold are, by definition, symbolic. They are meant to send a message. In order to do so, they have to be noticed. That message could, and should, be conveyed to city government by means of the student/city liaison committee, or by having SGA representatives speak at council meetings on a regular basis. Timeline for the Green for Gold PlanGoals: To have proper representation on the Burlington City Council.To remove the bias on the council against studentsTo use really annoying gold coins.To revitalize the Student Liaison Committee.April 12-18th:Green-for-Gold goes into full effect as students, having exchanged bills for coins on campus, spend these coins in Burlington.April 26th:City Councilor, Ian Carleton speaks on behalf of the town when he states his own ignorance of the plan. Green-for-Gold recognized as a failure.