Democratic candidate for state governor Joshua Svaty had a open forum with the members of the Students for Environmental Action (SEA) group Tuesday night to brainstorm ideas for solutions to environmental problems in Kansas and at K-State.
Being a native Kansan himself, one of Svaty’s largest platforms is environmental protection and awareness. With SEA, Svaty focused on the current problems and the future of agricultural techniques, solar energy and the value of clean, safe water.
“Just in terms of the environment, I think the whole state needs to have a buy-in on the value of our water,” Svaty said. “If you ask people how much their water costs, most can’t give an answer. If it’s hard to put a value on water, it’s hard to value it as a resource. But, it is one of the main reasons why we have a strong and vibrant economy in the western part of the state.”
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Svaty also encouraged group members to discuss ideas that can help K-State become more environmentally friendly and create awareness about the importance of a healthy environment.
Mark Ronning, senior in electrical engineering, suggested another energy audit like the one performed last spring.
“We’re thinking about doing another energy audit after Thanksgiving break with some help from the Pollution Prevention Institute here on campus,” Ronning said. “It’s a way for us to educate ourselves about how we use our energy and make a report of what we found and possible ways we could make that better.”
Svaty supported the idea and others to help better the campus. He stressed the importance of awareness energy consumption and climate change.
“It was important for us to meet with at least one candidate for governor,” said Amber Berg, president of SEA and junior in regional & community planning and national resources & environmental sciences. “We understand that it is important to be political, and it’s important for us to be involved in the practice of actually educating.”
Because of his agricultural background, Svaty said he is passionate about the importance of agriculture and the environment, and he pushed SEA members to share their opinions with people on campus as well as make an impact by influencing politicians to listen to their ideas.
“If you care about it, you have to drive your elected officials to care about it too,” Svaty said.
Svaty is the third gubernatorial candidate to visit students and the Manhattan community, following Republican candidates Mark Hutton and Ed O’Malley.