SGA helps fund public swimming hole

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SGA helps fund public swimming hole

Beard's swimming hole

Beard's swimming hole

Courtesy VRC

Beard's swimming hole

Courtesy VRC

Courtesy VRC

Beard's swimming hole

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The Johnson State College Student Government Association will donate $1,000 to a local swimming hole to be protected by the Town of Johnson, and the Vermont River Conservancy.

The donation has been lead by SGA President Nasser Abdel-Fatah, and SGA Vice President Shavonna Bent. “This donation could help seal the deal,” said Abdel Fatah to the SGA senators before they voted on the donation during the SGA meeting on Monday, September 7th. The donation was approved in a 5-0-0 vote.

The goal is to create another popular swimming spot for students and members of the Johnson community while protecting land at the same time. “The Vermont River Conservancy plans to preserve a span of the Gihon River… as a public access area that is well maintained for recreation and environmental protection,” said Bent.

The money will be coming directly from the SGA Senate Projects Funds, which held $10,000 in the beginning of the academic year. “If they never make their monetary goals we will get our donation back,” said Abdel-Fatah. The Senate Project Fund was $8,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year, and President Abdel-Fatah feels very confident that the budget will still be enough for the Senate projects this year. “When I made the budget I undershot it, and there is a cushion from last year that hasn’t been factored in, we’ll be fine” said Abdel-Fatah

The donation from the SGA will help the Vermont River Conservancy in the final stages of the donation process. “They only need $8,500 as of last Tuesday,” said Bent. The original amount needed was $120,000.

The Gihon River Swim Park, currently known as Beard’s Swimming Hole, which includes waterfalls, shorelines and swimming spots is walking distance from the JSC campus, and the town of Johnson. By assuring the protection of the river students will have another swimming spot to enjoy. “This will provide them (students) another awesome recreational spot for when they’re here from September to October,” said Abdel-Fatah.

The Vermont River Conservancy has worked with the SGA on river protection projects in the past including the popular spot Journey’s End on Plot Road. “They bought that land when it was for sale, they got donations and purchased it, and SGA donated to that,” said Abdel-Fatah. As a result from that project the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps cleaned the trail leading to Journey’s End.

The SGA sees this as a win-win for both the community and the environment. “Not only will this project give the community a place to meet and enjoy time outdoors, the environmental integrity of the stream will be maintained by reducing erosion and urban pollution,” said Bent.

Helping protect a piece of land runs close to the hearts of both Bent and Abdel-Fatah as they are both pursuing degrees in Environmental Science. “I think preserving our rivers and land is a super important part of being a human being,” said Abdel Fatah.
The SGA has been in contact with Lydia Menendez, the assistant director of the Vermont River Conservancy about the upcoming donation.

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