Programs stemming from the new environmental sustainability fee could bloom in the upcoming semester with the start of an advisory committee that plans to oversee all things green.
The Student Green Energy Fund, a statewide initiative led by students, is underway now that the green fee has collected a semester’s worth of revenue.
The committee is still finding its legs, but will ultimately be reviewing projects and managing money accrued by the green fee. The goal is to achieve this with complete transparency.
“Everything is going to be public,” said David O’Neill, a former director of the Student Government Department of Sustainability Initiatives. O’Neill acts as a consultant for the committee.
Introduced during the 2011 fall semester, the green fee charges students $1 per credit hour. The fee revenue so far is $53,400, according to Julie Jakway, assistant vice chancellor of financial services.
And the committee is getting the ball rolling. At the student government meeting Jan. 18, senators voted in favor of the university signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment before the end of the semester.
Signing the commitment is not an empty gesture, O’Neill said.
The Climate Commitment is an agreement for colleges and universities across the nation to work toward becoming climate-neutral and sustainable.
USF Tampa signed this commitment nearly four years ago, when President Judy Genshaft signed the pledge in April 2008.
The Student Green Energy Fund is an eight-member committee, with four faculty members appointed by Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Julie Wong, and four students selected by Student Government President Courtney Parish after undergoing an application process.
While the committee is limited to eight votes, the public is welcome to attend official meetings, as well as working group meetings. The committee has room for alternatives and no limit on volunteers.
The new committee is still working out a review process for project ideas, which can be proposed by students or faculty.
The next official meeting for the Student Green Energy Fund is Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Davis 130.