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$3.00 Green Fee added at students request

By Tom Robb
On June 25, 2007

There will be one more fee on next semester's bills that students asked for at the urging of the Green Cycle Group (GCG). The $3.00 per semester will be a "Campus Green Fee" for investment in renewable and cleaner energy on campus that would raise an estimated $90,000 for improvements to make a more energy efficient school, according to a joint statement from the university and the GCG.

The measure is not just geared toward creating large scale plans like putting solar panels on the P.E. Building, a measure that has been studied by Facilities Management, but would also act in smaller ways like replacing standard less expensive light bulbs with more expensive longer lasting bulbs which use less energy or installing motion sensors in washrooms so when the room is not occupied the lights are not on.

In a press release Green Cycle Group GCG Spokesman Jeremy Slate said, "This money would be placed in a fund for the sole purpose of bringing clean, renewable and/or sustainable energy to our campus. This will help keep energy costs low and reduce the negative environmental impacts of our facilities." The fee would be a flat fee assessed to all students regardless of credit load.

The (GCG) initiated the idea for the fee and worked to get it implemented. The GCG went before the Student Government Association and received their endorsement. That endorsement led to a referendum, which was passed by the student body with 75% of the vote in the last Student Government election and was then approved by the NEIU Board of Trustees.

Former Trustee Ald. Margaret Laurino told GCG President Amanda Woodall in the board meeting that she admired the fact that the GCG thought on both a grand and small scale about how the funds would be used.

The quest for a greener campus has been energized by a mandate to do so earlier this year by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Slate said that one of the reasons given by the administration (confirmed by VP of Finance and Administration Mark Wilcockson) for the recent tuition increases was rising energy costs and a lack of increased funds from the state government to keep pace with them.

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