Questions and Answers
The GCSU Green Fee proposal is an effort to empower students to support and fund the environmental sustainability of their campus. Many of today’s students are motivated to create more healthy, efficient, and ethical living arrangements. Future leaders want to lessen their carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices in their daily lives. As in many other institutions, however, environmental goals have not always been a major priority at our university. The Green Fee is an opportunity for today’s students to direct special initiatives toward updating and improving GCSU campus, so that it better serves their vision of a sustainable world, and prepares future students for the world of tomorrow.
1. What is a Green Fee?
A. The Green Fee is a student fee that goes to promote campus sustainability. It supplements the university’s tuition and state allocations in areas that are not covered by traditional operating expenses. Students direct the allocation of the funds toward areas that they deem most necessary. Typical expenditures include carbon offsets, recycling programs, research initiatives, and energy conservation. For more information, please review the web links below:
2. How much will the Green Fee cost?
A. Across the nation, dozens of campuses have instituted a green fee, ranging from $1-20 per student per term. The GCSU proposal is for an ongoing fee of $5/term.
3. How we the money be spent?
4. What types of projects will the fee support?
A. The current proposal asks for funds to help conserve energy by purchasing electricity monitoring equipment, to implement a campus recycling program, to fund educational campaigns, and to provide for a research grant into sustainability.
5. Will the Green Fee help save money in other ways?
A. Yes. Currently our campus spends millions of dollars annually on energy, water, and other operating expenses. The economic impetus for the green fee is to promote efficiency and conservation, which will save the campus hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Those savings can be passed on to other essential operation expenses, such as library acquisitions, personnel, and student programs. Eventually, the campus can not only reduce its expenses, but begin to generate its own income sources from alternative energy generation and sales of recyclables.
6. Will other fees actually decrease because of the Green Fee?
A. They certainly could. The Green Fee could reduce tuition increases and student fees for transportation and activities. All student fees are proposed by a student-led GCSU committee, and approved by the President and the Board of Regents.
7. Is a Green Fee the best thing for students in light of the current economic situation?
A. The State of Georgia is in a bit of an economic pinch at the moment, so it is unrealistic to expect the State to allocate additional fund to implement new funding for energy conservation and recycling efforts. That is why the students should take the lead and promote the values that they desire with a small contribution to greening their campus. The $5/term fee would only represent 1% of student fees ($465/term). Many students don’t take full advantage of transportation, athletic, activity, and health fees, but every student will profit from a more sustainable campus.
8. Do we need this fee forever or could it be lowered or done away with in later years?
A. Student fees are reviewed annually, and additional allocations need to be approved by the student-led committee. Unfortunately, the GCSU campus has a long way to go to be sustainable, so there is a lot of need for making our campus carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly, and economically efficient.
9. Is the fee mandatory? Couldn’t it be optional?
A. Following the lead of dozens of campus across the country, the current proposal is for a mandatory student fee. We do not have a simple mechanism for collecting and allocating voluntary contributions, outside of the Green Initiative Fund (see below).
10. Why just students? Shouldn’t faculty and staff also contribute?
A. There is a way for staff, faculty, alumni, and friends to contribute through the GCSU Foundation. All donations to this fund are tax-deductible and would hasten the day when GCSU is a sustainable green campus.
Prepared by the GCSU Environmental Science Club