Green light for energy fund



Tuesday Rattlers were given the chance to vote to further Florida A&M’s status as a green university.

The question: “Would you support a small per credit hour student renewable energy fee between 25 cents and $1, which could only be used for energy efficiency and renewable energy on campus?” 

In the end, the Student Green Energy Fund measure passed with 1258 yes votes and 486 no votes.

The fund is sponsored by the FAMU Green Coalition, which works with campus officials and others in the Tallahassee area to create a more eco-friendly and environmentally aware campus for students.

They have coined the phrase, “Two quarters can make a LOT of change.” This was geared towards getting students to vote for the Student Green Energy Fund. This initiative will request 50 cents per every credit hour that a student takes. With this plan being implemented, there will be around a substantial amount of money collected to go towards making FAMU a more sustainable campus and funding the projects that have the potential to make it all possible.

FAMU was the only historically black college and university on The Princeton Review’s 2011 list of “311 Green Campuses in the United States. This initiative will allow the university to uphold to this ranking.

Now that students have voted “Yes” on the referendum, their willingness to participate in this cause can be recognized. The next stop is the university fee committee, which is made up of students voted on by the current Student Government Association President and university officials. Lastly, the proposal will go before the Board of Trustees for the final vote.

“I’ve heard about this initiative,” said Darryl McGowan, a senior electrical engineer student. “Honestly, it’s not a lot of money that they are asking from students each semester and it seems like a really good thing to that doesn’t seem like much trouble on student’s behalf.”

The sponsor of the FAMU Green Coalition, LaRae Donnellan said, “I am so proud of the students for speaking out on the importance of personal responsibility for the environment. They are leaving a valuable, positive legacy for FAMU.” 

Although, this is not yet final, FAMU has taken a huge step forward toward becoming the kind of campus that they have always deserved to be.  

Donnellan believes that this initiative will make a statement by dealing with issues such as the climate crisis and sustainability. She said that we have to deal with these critical issues by making small changes so that you can address the bigger issue.

Although this fund is asking for 25 cents to $1 per credit hour from students each semester, these different initiatives and projects will benefit the university in long run. Energy tends to be the second-greatest expense at universities after personnel costs. The passing of the referendum could potentially save the university millions in the near future.

Prior to voting, Amako Ononuju, a freshmen biology student said, “I could see myself voting for this. It only makes sense, giving the condition of these economic times.”

Other universities in Florida are also implementing eco-friendly awareness campaigns.

According to the Southern Energy Network, in May 2011, students at the University of South Florida enacted an SGEF campaign on their campus. The fee is expected to generate over $1,000,000 annually which can only be spent on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.