Assistant professor: vote ‘yes’ for green fees

I fully support the pending ballot referendum that would raise the Student Sustainable Campus (“green”) Fee from $5 to $14 per semester.

This important fee, allocated by Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), has been instrumental in moving the campus forward on critical sustainability issues over the past 3 years.

I feel the additional funding will help strengthen the student leadership position in this arena.

Directly, the fee has supported various faculty and student organized campus projects that have significantly enhanced the sustainability of campus operations.

These projects include: making biodiesel for university vehicles possible, lighting sensors and retrofits in numerous campus buildings, helping to make locally grown produce on a student farm possible.

The SSC also funded the recent large scale installation of a progressive LED lighting retrofit in the lobby of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts that is dramatically reducing their energy use and provides a backdrop for artistic expression through a programmable color modification system.

Indirectly the student fee has created a grass roots based power structure that has encouraged (among other things) the creation of an Office of Sustainability on campus, the development of green energy strategies, a more aggressive energy conservation platform, and the production of a Climate Action Plan.

I believe that increasing the Green Fee will allow the SSC to continue to provide much needed student leadership for the UIUC campus sustainability movement in several ways.

First, it would significantly expand its impact on campus by providing additional capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Next, it will help provide an additional impetus for the campus toward a commitment to carbon neutrality.

Finally the additional fees will help show campus leaders that the student body is serious in their resolve to force the campus to pay attention to important environmental sustainability questions.

For these and other important reasons I strongly encourage all voters to support the Green Fee referendum.

Dr. Brian Deal,

assistant professor of urban and regional panning