ASCSU funds Fort Collins Book Fest, discusses proposal for RamGarden

Stuart Smith

Former Gov. Bill Ritter and The Martian author Andy Weir will be in Fort Collins next month in part due to additional funding provided by the Colorado State University student government. 

The Associated Students of CSU Senate narrowly passed the bill to provide $2,000 to the Fort Collins Book Festival and also discussed a bill to create a garden to fight student hunger.

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Bill to help fund Fort Collins Book Festival narrowly passes in Senate

Kanayo Okolo, ASCSU’s director of university affairs, introduced a bill last week to give $2,000 from the Senate Discretionary Fund to the Fort Collins Book Fest hosted by Poudre River Public Library.

The bill passed by a single vote, 18-8-9.

Okolo wanted to help fund the Book Fest because of the opportunities it provides for students. One of those opportunities he said he is excited about is networking, as several famous and influential people will be in attendance, including former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter.

“Whatever comes out of it is up to you,” Okolo said. “But through CSU, let’s create a platform that students will benefit from (like) talking to Governor Bill Ritter if they want to go into politics. Or if they want to go into Hollywood, how to make their names be heard.”

To Okolo, part of going to college is getting those connections on top of the education in the classroom.

“It’s great that we’re all here for school and to get that degree,” Okolo said. “But one thing I think is very underestimated is the power of social capitalism and I think we need to utilize that a lot better. We’re here to get good grades but we’re also here to make those connections.”

The Fort Collins Book Festival will be held in Old Town Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20.

Speaker Amundson introduces a bill for RamGarden Initiative

man presenting a powerpoint
ASCSU discussed Speaker of the Senate Benjamin Amundson’s, bill to have ASCSU assist in the development of a community garden focused on helping with food insecurity. The bill will be on the floor during next week’s meeting. The garden would be in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

Speaker of the Senate Ben Amundson brought a bill to the floor that would help to establish what he is calling the RamGarden, an acre of land dedicated to growing food for students suffering from food insecurity at CSU.

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“This is a gardening area that grows fruits and vegetables to be donated to food insecurity programs,” Amundson said. “It’s completely student-serviced and you need no experience to volunteer.”

Part of what is causing this food insecurity, Amundson said, is the increased enrollment of low to middle-class families.

“A lot of people will not qualify for food stamps or other programs just by going to college,” Amundson said. “If you go to college, a lot of times that can disqualify you from food programs, they say ‘well you’re too wealthy if you can afford college.’”

Nothing is set in stone, Amundson said, but the College of Agriculture would donate one acre of land for the garden and the resources necessary to grow the food. The College of Agriculture would be donating the acre from its land in southern Colorado, but Amundson wants to make the garden closer to Fort Collins.

The bill sets a timeline for when the garden would be done and able to be used.

“It says we’re going to get this done before (the end) of Spring Semester of 2019,” Amundson said. “We’d love to grow the plants right now but winter is going to freeze them over.”

The bill was then sent to Internal Affairs and Budgetary Affairs Committees for review before the bill is voted on next week.

Stuart Smith can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @stuartsmithnews