No green light for green fee

The student-proposed green fee, while noble in its intentions, lacks full thought in its current form. Increasing or creating new mandatory fees commits students to the payment of the fee permanently. There has been no recent precedent for fees being decreased or eliminated, and it is doubtful that the trend will change anytime soon.

All of the current mandatory fees are used to provide benefits directly to students. The green fee, in contrast, would promote sustainability initiatives with a less direct benefit to the student body. Funding for such initiatives should come from the Institute or alternative sources.

It should be noted that the Institute is currently doing an exceptional job promoting sustainable practices and green initiatives across campus. Setting aside funds for something that is already excelling on campus may seem ridiculous to much of the student body. Furthermore, mandating that every student pay to promote the green cause could poison the currently positive image sustainability efforts have on campus. As certain parts of the student body have already expressed reluctance at the idea of a green fee, it is unlikely that sentiment will shift in a different direction.

A suitable alternative to a mandatory fee would be to give students the option of paying for a voluntary fee. Allowing students to tack on a few dollars to their mandatory costs would allow students who want to contribute to do so. The practice would generate momentum for sustainable practices and initiatives, and it would show how much students truly believe in these practices.

Current student groups, like Students Organizing for Sustainability, could promote the voluntary fee to the student body. Since some many students already believe in the sustainability movement, student contributions could be successful in the first year.

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