FAMU, FSU Students to Push for Fund to Aid Sustainability

Students, faculty and organizations are finding different ways to come together for a bigger cause.

College students in Florida are making an attempt to pass a green energy fund. Students at Florida A&M and Florida State have created organizations to rally their student body to support the movement. The fund will require students to pay a fee that will go toward the green energy projects on their campuses.

Southern Energy Network’s Florida organizer Jacqueline Ayala said the green fund is a maximum of $1 and a minimum of $.25 per credit hour, and will go toward projects that cut carbon emissions.

“The fund is enacted by the majority popular vote by students, is controlled by a committee of at least half students, and is voted by the students every three years,” Ayala said.

FAMU Green Coalition’s president Alicia Alexander said the organization is partnering with FSU’s IDEAS to promote sustainability. “Both organizations want the same outcome: to educate students and communities about green initiatives and sustainability,” Alexander said. “The majority of universities in the state are working toward it.”

Alexander said the fund would allow campuses to invest in long-term projects that will sustain energy, including, solar panels, gravity water sprinkler systems and irrigation systems. Alexander said persuading students is a challenge.

“Trying to get students to see past the fact that it’s not just a fee is difficult. A lot of people see it as a tuition increase and not as a fund that will benefit the universities,” Alexander said.

Vice President of FAMU Green Coalition Ariana Williams said the student organizations have more than one goal.

“The goals are to reduce carbon emissions and to enact the Student Green Energy Fund on all Florida campuses,” Williams said. “The organization can serve as a catalyst for a community-wide change while building political power in Florida and building strong youth leaders.”

Williams said both universities are forming strategic alliances and will be actively engaged.

“We plan to be at the Board of Trustees meetings, talk and stay in communication with allies, build up leaders who can help, use the campus image and gain student support,” Williams said.

The timeline for getting the fund passed consists of positive vote from the Student Senate in spring 2012, Board of Trustees in fall 2012 and the Board of Governors by 2013.

FSU student Alex Saunders said FAMU and FSU are fighting the same battle in different mediums.

“Right now, FAMU is doing a great job getting SGA excited about the Student Green Energy Fund on their campus,” said Saunders. “Florida State has already had this passed three times in the SGA, and we are going to try to get it in the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors as soon as possible.”

For more information contact members of The FAMU Green Coalition or FSU IDEAS.