Sustainability initiatives approved

A unanimous vote by the Student Activity Fee Committee last Friday afternoon ended a 3-year 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 whom 5 percent responded, 53.5 percent were in favor of creating a new mandatory fee for sustainability efforts and 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,” said Rebecca Stout, associate vice president of the dean of students. “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 increase the school’s efficiency. However, even with the additional SAF funding, many Black’s goals will not be funded.

Some of Black’s goals included retrofitting the university’s buildings with solar panels and creating partnerships with local green corporations—actions that do not fall under the definition of student activities by the SAFC and, therefore, cannot receive funding from the SAFC.

“Having a green fee as a student activity will still serve the student well,” Black said.

Despite the funding limitations, student organizations choosing to encourage sustainability can now apply for funding through the Sustainability Initiatives Fee Council.

For more information, contact Dr. Rebecca Stout at 404-413-1515 or