2 SGA senators walk out of meeting after sustainability bill fails

Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout.

Two Student Government Association senators walked out of the last meeting of the year after their bill relating to sustainability was voted down by the Senate.

Sens. Jessica Guajardo and Dominick Namis, co-authors of “Charged Up,” left the meeting Thursday night after their bill failed to garner the two-thirds supermajority vote needed to purchase the umbrella. Guajardo returned visibly emotional while Namis did not.

The bill would’ve cleared way for SGA to buy a solar-powered umbrella equipped with plugs at the base allowing students to plug in their phones or other devices, to charge. Guajardo and Namis started a petition on Facebook that garnered more than 200 signatures, Guajardo said.

The bill would have SGA take money out of their secondary account — which stands at just under $15,000 — to pay for the $2,160 umbrella. SGA would have paid $1,080 — half the cost of the umbrella — and the other half would have come from Students for Sustainability.

“Sen. Guajardo and myself both see this as an opportunity to learn,” Namis said. “We plan to complete this project without the help of the Student Government Association.”

Students for Sustainability President Jillian Mitchell was also disappointed that the bill failed.

“Jessica and Dominick first reached out to me in September 2015,” Mitchell said. “I hope they do not feel defeated by this. If they continue to fight for this, Students for Sustainability will gladly lend support.”

Next year’s SGA President-elect Jamie Cardenas initially voted to table the bill, however that motion failed and the bill was put up for a final vote. Cardenas abstained.

In her campaign for SGA president, Cardenas and her running mate Carlos Martinez ran on sustainability. Their website says, “We will continue to research and implement ways to make our blue and gold campus greener.”

“My reason for abstaining is that there are a lot of loose ends,” Cardenas said. “I was stuck in the middle and did not know how to vote. [Carlos and I] ran on sustainability and I just want to make sure we continue these conversations. I do foresee this bill happening. Conversations can either happen quickly or take a long time. It really depends.”

Martinez voted in favor of the bill along with Sen. Oliver Guerra.

“[Guajardo and Namis] worked very hard on this,” Guerra said. “That’s why I was rather shocked when it got voted down. I think if we had the full [Senate] we could have definitely passed it.”

Sens. Janelle Nacpil, Kennedy Namis and Guerra voted for the bill.

Sens. Paola Gallegos, Ben Griffith and Andrea Ojeda voted no.

Sens. Guajardo and Dominick could not vote as they authored the bill. Sen. David Isaac and sponsor of the bill Sen. Greg Reck were not present.

“I’m disappointed with SGA’s decision,” Guajardo said. “I’m motivated to reach out to other organization on campus to gain more support. I plan to push forward and see this through with or without the monetary support of Student Government.”