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Students Willingly Shell Out Money For More Green

At least 14 campuses in the United States and four in Canada have passed student-approved fee increases to purchase renewable energy and/or reduce carbon emissions. Students are in favor of the $10-$25 a year fee hikes because the relatively small amount of money adds up to a lot of impact.

Students at the University of Florida voted for a $14 fee increase that is expected to raise approximately $645,000 a year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their campus. At Oregon State University, an $8.50 fee increase is estimated to be enough to offset all of the campus's electricity usage through the purchase of renewable energy credits. With the small fee increase, the currently coal-operated Oregon State University will be able to look into wind power purchases.

"There's the risk that they [students] will say, 'Well, we're funding this, so we can do whatever now,' " said Brandon Trelstad, Oregon State University's campus sustainability coordinator. "The beauty of the fee is if campus energy consumption goes up dramatically, so will the fee the next year if we want to continue to offset 100 percent of Oregon State's consumption."

Many colleges are supporting student efforts to go green by matching students' monetary contributions. Other colleges, like Oregon State University, have officially made the pledge to go green with their students. Oregon State University's president, signed the American Colleges and University President Climate Commitment as the vote for the fee increase was passed by students.

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Source:

Powers, Elia. “Cents and Sustainability.” Inside High Ed 18 MAY 2007 http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/18/fees.

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