Members of the Students for Environmental Action have been gathering petition signatures across campus to implement a $5 green fee, which will go toward making Temple more sustainable.
In order to pass this fee, though, SEA needs to prove it has the support of 10 percent of Temple students by getting 3,500 signatures. If the students meet their goal by December, the green fee will be implemented as a part of fall 2010 tuition.
SEA started petitioning Sept. 10 and in the past two weeks, hit its first goal of 1,000 signatures.
“It’s been going really well so far, and we have been getting a lot of great feedback from students and from teachers,” SEA President Korin Tangtrakul said.
But the concept of a green fee is not new or unique to Temple. Many universities on the west coast charge tuition fees that support sustainability on campus. University of California, Santa Cruz has a $3 fee per quarter and has been rated 100 percent green by the EPA.
Middle Tennessee State University was successful in passing an $8 fee per semester to generate money to purchase energy from a local renewable energy company.
Here in Philadelphia, Drexel University is currently trying to pass a revolving loan, which would serve the same general function as a green fee would at Temple but with a slightly more complicated process.
To help assure students their money will be used the way it’s meant to, if the green fee is passed, a committee will be formed as a part of the Sustainability Advisory Board of President Hart. This way, board members as well as students concerned about sustainability on campus will be actively involved in the decision making and use of the money.
The fee is just a part of recent university efforts to increase its sustainability.
During the Spring 2008 semester, President Anne Weaver Hart signed the President’s Climate Commitment, which is a part of a national campaign to curb greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050. In order to meet these goals, the green fee would be charged in the same way Temple students pay fees for health services, computer and technology, facilities, et cetera along with tuition.
Because the green fee is a student-run initiative, so the money would go toward projects that Temple students want to see happen, such as purchasing renewable energy, organic and local foods, campus-wide recycling, installing green roofs, creating additional green spaces, sustainable transportation and other projects students and advisors deem worthy.
Sierra Gladfelter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.