Student Activity Fee Committee approves Sustainability Initiatives Fee Council

A unanimous vote by the Student Activity Fee Committee on Friday afternoon ended a 3-year-long attempt by green initiative proponents to receive funding.

The vote created a new Sustainability Initiatives Fee Council geared toward funding student organizations that promote and engage in green activities.

In a survey sent out to 34,437 students, of which 10 percent responded, 53.5 percent were in favor of creating a new mandatory fee for sustainability efforts, while 83.1 percent of respondents were in favor of allocating existing funds from the Student Activity Fee toward the sustainability efforts.

Because of the high percentage rate of approval for an allocation of existing funds, the committee voted to create the new fee council and allocate it $10,000.

In the survey, students were given the option to leave anonymous comments for the committee to review.

However, many of the comments asked for efforts that would not be able to be funded by the new council.

“[I would like to see] Vegan/vegetarian options in the cafeteria—I bring my own lunch every day because there are no suitable meals for me at the school,” one student wrote.

Another student wrote that they would like to see an increase in bike lanes around campus.

“The biking options are really key—there should be bike lanes to easily get in and out of that parking garage under the library,” the student wrote.

The SAFC also approved the Sustainability Initiatives Fee Council guidelines.

The guidelines included the minimum meetings required and the membership requirements for any groups wanting funding.

“If you look at them, without having advertised for them, there are about three groups out there,” Rebecca Stout, associate vice president of the dean of students, said. “I’d imagine that those individuals would go to the [Sustainability Initiatives Fee Council]. And then when you put your advertisement out, that’s what gets encourages the rest of the groups to submit their applications.”

Dr. Michael Black, a lecturer at Georgia State, presented his plan before the SAFC on Sept. 18. He proposed that funding for green initiatives on campus would not only be beneficial for students, but would also make the school more efficient.

Black had already presented his proposal to the Mandatory Fee Committee and had been denied funding three years in a row. Though the SAFC has voted to provide funding to green groups on campus, not many of Black’s goals will be funded.

Retrofitting the university’s buildings with solar panels and creating partnerships with local green corporations were among Black’s goals—actions that do not fall under the definition of student activities by the SAFC and therefore cannot be funded by money from the SAFC.