The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

This Just In: ASUO Senators Still Cynical, Money-Grubbing Sleazebags

I was taking a gander at the Daily Emerald blogs when I ran across this post by ASUO report Alex Tomchak regarding the new ASUO “sustainability” committee. Tomchak calls “sustainability”

a muzzy term people generally use when they want to say they are in favor of protecting the environment but don’t want to look like hippies.

Well put, though I’d go further and say it’s a word that’s generally used when people want to justify spending other people’s money. The tidbit that really caught my attention, however, was at the very end:

‘Some senators have also said they want the definition of “sustainability” to be more elastic and oblique, rather than confined specifically to the environment.’

How terribly convenient.

Why, it’s almost like these bottom-feeders want to be able to spend money with few of those pesky “rules” and “regulations” getting in their way.

In any case, it seems to me that the Emerald’s readers might be interested in knowing that certain members of their student government (finding out which ones would be a good start) are angling to redefine the word “sustainability” in order to put themselves in a better position to raid student money.

I’d love to see the Emerald do some more reporting on this, letting the student body exactly which of these senators is proposing redefining the word “sustainability” and asking them to justify themselves.

  1. Stachelrodt says:

    sustain: to keep up or keep going, as an action or process

    Heavens to Murgatroyd! there’s a book that has a bunch of definitions in it.

  2. JMB says:

    Gray should be totally in favor of funding student football tickets then. Think of all the trees that are now being saved by the switch to electronic ticketing! And check out that “sustainability” in action when tens of thousands of fans walk or bike to Autzen stadium rather than driving their cars around all day.

  3. Evil Rocks says:

    eg give money to their cronies but with more legitimacy then.

  4. The senators I was referring to are Weintraub and Gray, although I misunderstood the leeway they were meaning to take with the word. Evidently, they want funding for things that are only obliquely related to the euphemistic sense of “sustainability” rather than obliquely defined as “sustainable.” I.e., loans to start businesses with sustainable practices, transportation for club sports teams if they use more environmentally friendly busses.

  5. Evil Rocks says:

    In my biology lecture today, I learned that the exact same reproductive structure has different names in mosses and chorophytes, so I think the problem may lie in trying to find small words and phrases to communicate complex ideas.

    Actually, that’s not a bad way of looking at the “sustainability” debate – whenever people talk about the s-word they try to condense far too much meaning into a single word for it to be at all useful in chatting between camps of thought because each school has a different implicit understanding of the word.

  6. Gsim says:

    Actually, at least in scientific circles, it has a relatively specific definition. My ochem professor defined it as:

    meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

    Although, how you apply this concept is really open to interpretation.

    In chemistry classes it basically means use whatever chemicals are less toxic to produce your product, even if that makes the product more expensive. Unless, the chemicals are really super expensive. Then just use the toxic ones.

    I guess it doesn’t really mean anything in science either…

  7. Evil Rocks says:

    Isn’t that a problem with any non-hierarchical movement? Individuals have their own opinions, standards, and goals for a sustainable future so it only makes sense that people in power will latch on to the new idealism to ride to a new peak of power.

    If I were to formulate what I *think* people mean by sustainability, I’d guess that it’s something along the lines of pursuing their lifestyle without compromise while government reduces the environmental impact of said lifestyle. Recycling is a panacea; but shutting down industrial polluters might improve air quality.

  8. Betz says:

    I just did a google search on “Sustainability” … there are probably ten different meanings of sustainability, depending on which link you click on. Obviously, most people think sustainability has something to do with the environment: buy a hybrid and energy efficient light bulbs, and you’re “sustainable”. sort of forms a meaning around “evolution” and spiritualism, with an emphasis on “sustainable culture” (whatever that means).

    I try not to be cynical about environmental issues; it IS something that is important. But its really easy to be snarky and cynical when there just seems to be such a lack of coordination around the “sustainability movement” that even a widely agreed upon definition of sustainability exists.

  9. Evil Rocks says:

    Surely you do not mean to say that politicians play the redefinition game for fun and personal gain…

  10. Sakaki says:

    Embezzlement, pure and simple.

  11. Gsim says:


    That implies that those mouth breathers (senators) knew what the word actually means. They couldn’t define sustainability with a dictionary, those pukes are too dumb to read.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.