Thursday, October 6, 2011

UIC Green Fee critical point

The UIC Green Fee is in the final stretch for approval as of Monday, September 19th. After the committee votes on it, the proposal will make its way up the ladder of administration. If it is approved by the committee, it will most likely be passed by university administrators.

If you’re unfamiliar, the UIC Green Fee is a proposed plan to support sustainable initiatives on campus including research, student projects, and—most importantly—education. If passed, the Green Fee will be implemented in Fall 2012 and will be supervised by the Green Fee Advisory Board (GFAB) who will determine how to best use and distribute the funds.

The Green Fee will support Keystone Projects including the Green Power Partnership, Community Garden, and Food Service Waste Evaluation & Improvement. The Green Power Partnership will work to offset 5.6 MILLION kWh per year (which is about $560,000 savings in electricity per year) and to implement reusable, sustainable energy on campus, much like the solar panels on top of Douglas Hall.

The Community Garden will function to educate students and to (Someday? Maybe?) provide locally grown food to Sodexo. Meaning: the food you eat could be cooked with fruits and vegetables grown at UIC!

The Food Service Waste Evaluation and Improvement will work to utilize alternate methods of waste disposal such as the implementation of composting bins on campus and to donate any excess food to the needy. Here at UIC, all waste disposal is charged by weight. There’s no reason to dispose of biodegradable fruit and vegetables in trash cans. If they can be used in compost bins to create soil (it’s amazing what nature can do!), why spend the money and waste the energy?

So…how much money will all of this raise? About $200,000 a year, with the sole purpose of supporting sustainability.

Who will be charged this fee? Well, frankly, UIC students. But, before you panic, it’s only $4 per semester. Our Illini friends in Urbana has had a Green Fee since 2003. Other universities with something similar include: SIU, ISU, Indiana University, and UCLA. If you can’t stomach the fee (for the price of a latte!), you can always opt-out and get a refund after it’s charged to your bill.

If you ask me, I’d really like some compost bins on campus so I don’t have to throw my apple cores in the garbage or leave them next to a tree for one of our campus schizophrenic squirrels. I spend more money on Jimmy John’s on any given day than this Green Fee will cost me for the year. I think I can give up one sandwich a year for a more sustainable campus.

What do you think?

For a more detailed break down of the Green Fee and the projects proposed, read the proposal or email

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