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Students to vote on green fee

Students will have the opportunity to voice their opinion on a renewable energy fee, or green fee, on next month’s Student Body Election ballot.

The green fee, proposed by the Student Environmental Association (SEA), would require students to pay an additional 75 cents per credit hour.

At this amount, the fee is expected to raise $1 million for renewable energy projects on campus, such as solar panels, recycling and revisions to make buildings more energy-efficent.

If passed, the bill will not immediately levy any student fees. Rather, it will help students and administrators understand where student interest lies regarding the proposal and offer students the opportunity to support it.

For the fee to be implemented, it must first to pass at the state level.

Students in the SEA said the student-driven, student-implemented fee would help the University become more environmentally friendly and promote innovation.

“It’s an issue nationwide, and it just wants a voice,” said SG Senate President Juan Soltero at the Senate meeting Tuesday.

Last semester, 86 percent of students surveyed supported the fee.

Lyndsey Scofield, a member of the SEA, said the administration has backed the fee and is interested in USF becoming a carbon-neutral university. However, money must be generated for projects to begin.

“The fee would help disperse funds over the whole student body,” Scofield said at the SG Senate meeting.

Some students are concerned that the green fee would not generate enough money to be consequential, or that the money it raised would be ineffective.

“A green fee would be a good thing as long as it is well-implemented,” said Senator Zain Nensey.

He said he believes a green fee should be at least $2-3 per credit hour to generate enough money and that the University would need to do a good job consulting scientists and professors about implementation.

If passed, the green fee would be controlled by a committee of half students and half faculty, though Scofield said she hopes more students would be involved than faculty.

The student body would have the opportunity to re-vote for the green fee every two years.