Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Cash rule everything around the environment

Published: October 23, 2009
Section: Editorials

Students for Environmental Action has introduced an online poll to gauge student sentiment on a “green fee” surcharge on tuition. The “green fee” would be an optional program that would allow students to pay an extra $15 on top of their tuition to a fund for environmental projects on campus.

While SEA has yet to determine a distribution model, members of the club have indicated that students would have a significant role in allocating the funds.

While still in its infancy at Brandeis, the “green fee” proposal has the potential to be a significant force for positive change on our campus.

With a university budget that is in red, funding for sustainable projects is going to need to come from alternative sources. SEA has already been successful in finding outside funding as shown by the solar panel agreement reached last month.

Certainly, $15 from every single undergraduate student is not enough to finance the solar panel system that will soon grace Gosman. Indeed, $15 a year from the entire undergraduate community amounts to just under $50,000. But significant steps towards lessening our environmental footprint can be made with little money.

Among other things, the money could be used to sustain the new organic garden in Massell Quad or finance the distribution of a limited number of reusable coffee mugs à la last year’s water bottles.

The “green fee” model represents an innovative way of empowering students to better their university. If the “green fee” is instituted, and we hope that it is, our community can only gain from the initiative.

The increased revenue will help finance projects that might otherwise be impossible and the increased opportunity for student participation will help satisfy many who feel that student voices are too often quieted on our campus. Even small amounts of money talk.