In collaboration with campus environmental club Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS), the SGA’s Sustainability Committee has compiled a proposal to institute a Green Fee on campus. The Green Fee, or Sustainability Fee, is a student fee that will be used to fund sustainability-related projects. The primary goal of this fee is to achieve sustainability by reducing waste generation, water consumption and energy usage on campus.
The idea was first proposed earlier this year by members of both organizations. A separate committee, the Green Fee Committee, will be established in order to manage funds collected by imposition of the green fee, if it is approved. This committee will consist of both student and faculty members who will allocate the collected funds towards various sustainable activities throughout an academic year. The amount for the fee might be subject to change every year based on the committee’s decision.
“A similar fee is currently in place in many comparable colleges and universities across the U.S., including UGA,” said Tomas Leon, Sustainability Committee co-chair and third-year CEE. UGA approved a $3 Green Fee last year in order to create an Office of Sustainability, which coordinates efforts for environmental sustainability.
Molly McLaughlin, president of SOS, said during a UHR meeting held on Feb. 15 that a sustainability fee referendum could occur in April, provided that SGA approve the request.
The committee is continuing to try to find a way to create a sustainability fund. In order to get a separate fee, UHR, GSS and Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee (MSFAC) will all have to approve its institution.
During the meeting of the Graduate Student Senate on March 1, representatives voiced opinions strongly against the institution of this fee. As a result, the proposal to hold a referendum regarding the green fee is currently on hold. Example projects that will be conducted include increasing recycling in buildings across campus, installing low-flow faucets and toilets and installing LED lighting. Disposable containers will also be replaced with reusable or compostable ones.
“A lot of students are very receptive to the idea, supporting the importance of sustainability on campus. Most reservations arise because of the recent massive increases in student fees,” Leon said.