Optional Green Energy Fee raises more than $14,000
Published: Thursday, March 6, 2008
Updated: Friday, October 10, 2008 01:10
Next to the $127 Health Fee and $162.50 Intercollegiate Athletic Fee, which Plattsburgh State students have to pay each semester, now lies the optional $3 Green Fee.
The Student Association's Green Energy Fee promoted by the Environmental Action Committee has found its way on students' college bills for the first time last semester.
About one in every three students paid for the optional fee, which accumulated to a total of more than $14,000 in the first year for the newly formed committee.
This green money is going toward an environmental sustainable project that can be proposed by faculty, staff and students.
Sarah Wharton, current treasurer for the EAC, was president of the committee when she formed the Campus Committee for Environmental Responsibility along with earth and environmental science Associate Professor, Timothy Mihuc and Assistant history Professor, Gary Kroll.
The CCER is one of the few committees on campus to have members of administration, faculty and the student body representing it.
The group, which was approved by President John Ettling to allocate the Green Fee, meets and discusses ways for PSUC to have a clean and environment-friendly campus. They will be reviewing the proposals and deciding which environmental project to embark on.
"If you have an idea, we want it, but you have to be serious about the idea," said Wharton, who stresses how much could be done with the money already built up. "We want students to see this money is going somewhere."
The Green Grant Applications offered since Feb. 18, will be available until March 10, when the CCER will be deciding upon the application that sounds most feasible, while also making an impact on the campus' environment. They are available in the Angell College Center, and require minimal effort.
Besides answering a series of questions relating to their idea, applicants write a paper in two pages or less, explaining their proposal.
Kroll said that the project chosen could be something small that would only require modest funding, or they could use the money as seed money for a larger, on-going project that can be worked on from year-to-year.
"We can get our feet wet for about a year and then report back to the student senate," Kroll said, who confessed that they were still trying to sort the weeds out. "But you don't treat student money frivolously."
While there have not been many Green Grant Applications sent in yet, there have been some good ideas tossed out.
Some proposals involve a bio-diesel project, a community garden, recycling bins for outdoors, a tree nursery, and a composting project to make use of all the food being wasted in the dining halls while also relieving the landfills of some of the excess garbage being dumped into them.
As more reactions are being drawn from the public because of incidents like Al Gore's Global Warming movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," and Hurricane Katrina, "Everybody is trying to wise up, green up, and increase sustainability," Kroll said.
Aiming to get more feedback from students, and to make a change on the campus, Kroll strives for sustainability on PSUC's campus and to "lessen our ecological footprint."
Co-chair for the CCER and Coordinator of the Lake Champlain Research Institute, Mihuc says it would be great to add a couple zeros onto how much the CCER has earned for PSUC, "but even 14,000 can have a visible impact on campus."
The Green Grant Applications found in the ACC can be filled out by any member of faculty, staff, or the student body, and it concerns every person on campus.
There are projects we can scale and make a change on campus," Mihuc said. "The more students want to see an environment-friendly, green campus, the more we'll do."