The University of Illinois is one green machine. Just as celebrities, television shows and major corporations are delving into the green glory, universities are realizing the importance of cleaning up campuses.
One of the biggest solutions for green change — a green fee.
On March 4, 2010, the students voted, and the verdict was clear — the student body overwhelmingly agrees that green changes need to be made with about 77 percent of voters in favor of the fee.
Green fees are becoming popular at universities across the United States. The fee, attached to a student's tuition costs, allows universities to spend that allotted money on improving green features around their campus. While the University of Illinois has seen several green changes, such as water conserving toilets in recreation facilities to solar panels on the newest business building, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Although the green fee seems small (the fee will be $14), the university's population will more than compensate for that, according to the press release provided by SSC and SECS. The combination of students and the fee will accumulate into the largest total amount for any university in the country. Talk about some major green!
Student leaders are also asking the university to match the total amount.
"For several years, students have been the force behind and funding source for sustainability efforts to protects our future," said Anthony Larson in the press release, president of SECS.
"These results demonstrate another strong mandate for campus sustainability ... The time for our University Administration to step up is now," said Larson.
Both groups are hoping that the new green fee will bring big improvements along with the small, such as switching from coal powered plants, installing a wind mill and continuing the efforts toward recycling on campus.
Past funding supported by SSC and SECS has gone toward student farm, LED lights at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, low-flow water fixtures for Campus Recreation facilities and the student Biodiesel Initiative, according to the press release.
$14 may not seem like a lot to each student, but the contribution they will be making and their desire to see the University of Illinois improve are sending the campus into a bright and green future.
Photo: Stephanie Poquette