New council to oversee Student Green Energy Fund expenses

In the first school year featuring the Student Green Energy Fund, students will have a say in how the money will be spent.

The Green Fee Council, created by the Office of Sustainability, will provide oversight on how the $500,000 received from the fee this semester will be spent. Students pay $1 per credit hour toward the fund.

The council will comprise six USF employees and six students whose focus is on eliminating greenhouse gases on campus.

According to the Office of Sustainability Website, the council will explore the application of both solar and solar-thermal energies, the use of light and motion sensors and the update of older equipment to Energy Star-rated products – a federal, energy-efficient program.

Office of Sustainability Director Christian Wells said he anticipates involvement from Physical Plant, Dining Services and, possibly, Information Technology.

“We are looking for outcome-driven research projects that will help USF reduce energy consumption and promote renewable energy technologies,” he said.

Students, including those with no background knowledge in the environmental field, can submit proposals for ideas online at by Oct. 3, he said.

“All proposals are first sent to a group of technical advisers, who are specialists in renewable energy and related environmental fields,” Wells said.

He said the first council meeting will be held in late October to discuss proposal criteria for the technical advisers and decide on which proposals they will use at a later date.

Student Government (SG) Director of the University and Community Affairs Briana Jones, a senior majoring in health sciences, will oversee the meetings.

“(For students to apply for the council) the application is available on the Student Green Energy website, as well as the Student Government website,” she said. “The application consists of simple questions such as, ‘What are your other involvements on campus? ‘What are your interests in the initiative?’ and what you would do to benefit the council?”

Jones said the student application deadline for the fall is 5 p.m. Oct. 3. Students have to reapply every fall and spring semester.

Wells said his office worked with SG, The Provost’s Office and the Student Environmental Association to get approval from the Board of Trustees for students to vote on the Student Green Energy Fund during the spring semester, when it passed with a 70 percent approval rating.

At the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting in May, Provost Ralph Wilcox made a presentation and the BOG members passed the fee.

“We really want students to really see where all of this funding is going toward on campus,” Wells said. “This is the first time that we’re convening a council to manage the Student Green Energy Fund.”