The Green Fee, which was unanimously passed by the Board of Governors on March 24, will be enacted in fall 2011. The initiative would place a one dollar per credit hour fee on every student. This means a $32-36 fee per year depending on whether or not the student is participating in an Independent Study Project. The fee would generate anywhere between $26-30,000 annually.
“Our main goal is trying to solicit some matching dollars from governmental programs as well as state programs so that we can get the biggest bang for our buck,” New College Student Alliance Co-president and first-year Michael Long said. The fee is also one of the few student controlled sustainability funds generated by fees in the country.
According to Co-president and third-year Oliver Peckham, the fee “allows for more projects and long term capital and service improvements. It’s not for speakers or events. It’s an entirely new allocation experience for student government. We’ve never had any fund that was controlled by a representative committee only for long term improvements to the school. I’m very hopeful that it will work.”
The Green Fee initiate began in the 2006-07 school year by some New College students including thesis student Michael Dexter. It stalled in state legislature until the Board of Governors was given the authority to implement new fees requested by universities. The co-presidents emailed a survey to the student body asking their opinions on the green fee and received about 300 out of about 800 possible responses. They had 71.4 percent approval that first day and now have about 74.1 percent approval. Long and Peckham went to Tallahassee for the meeting of the Board of Governors where the fee was unanimously approved.
“It really is occasionally a crappy feeling when you know that there are people who are in difficult financial situations and struggling to come to New College and you’re the one pushing for them to pay one more fee,” Peckham said. “That’s a tough thing to grapple with. It’s extremely legitimate, but at the same time we can’t keep saying we’re an environmental campus and not put our money where our mouth is.”
The Council of Green Affairs will decide where to allocate the money from the Green Fee. One possibility for the money is investing in solar panels that would reduce electricity bills. “We can do a lot of stuff with this fee and it can be done at a truly epic scale,” Peckham concluded. “This is the biggest positive change to New College student government in at least the last four or five years. It’s huge.”