$15 Student Fee Increase Proposed for Campus Sustainability
The Student Government Association holds a bi-weekly meeting on Tuesdays in Hermann Lounge. Westminster students and faculty lead busy lives, and are sometimes unable to attend these meetings. For this reason, The Columns has started a series of discussions articles detailing the happenings of each SGA meeting. If you are free on Tuesdays, consider attending an SGA meeting at 5:45 p.m. in Hermann Lounge.
BY AUSTIN MORRIS, SYDNEY SEXTON AND STEFANIE EGGLESTON
At SGA’s last meeting on Nov. 18, members of EcoHouse and Environmentally Concerned Students (ECoS) proposed a $15 per student per semester fee increase that will help Westminster College become a more sustainable campus. Supporters say that the proposed “efficiency fund” will bring economic and environmental benefits to the campus within only a few years.
Beginning in the 2015-16 school year onwards, the fund would create a $30,000 per year increase in the budget to “facilitate projects to improve economic and environmental efficiency on campus,” according to the proposal submitted by EcoHouse to SGA. If the proposal passes, students from EcoHouse, Westminster’s Green Council, and Associate Vice President for Institutional Operations Dan Haslag will work together to approve, coordinate, and execute proposed projects.
According to members of EcoHouse, the first proposed green project will be retrofitting the overhead lights in Hunter Activity Center’s Maybee Gym with LED lights. Right now, the lights in HAC Gym cost $9,348.00 per year to operate, whereas the new 150 Watt LED lights would cost $3,015.63, a cost savings of $6,332.37 per year. The LED lights would initially cost $13,226.00; however, over five years, it is projected that Westminster College would save $31,661.85.
Other proposed projects include creating additional occupancy sensors for indoor lighting, installing higher-efficiency air conditioning units in residential houses, replacing windows in residential houses, and substituting higher-efficiency boiler replacements in HAC as well as the Reeves/Hazel wing.
EcoHouse’s student fee increase proposal will be brought up at the February 2015 Board of Trustees meeting, and if passed, would be implemented the following year. The proposal states that the overarching goal of this additional fee is “to make the school more sustainable and cut costs throughout the campus by improving wasteful utilities.”
Members of ECoS and EcoHouse will continue to offer information about the proposal at many upcoming events, including late night breakfast. They will also meet with Greek chapters, various clubs and faculty members after the start of next semester to offer them information and answer any questions they have regarding the fund.
Readers: Would you approve of this tuition increase? Are there any projects that you would like to see this money go towards? Have any suggestions for EcoHouse? Leave a comment or let EcoHouse know directly by contacting EcoHouse President, Olivia Andoe at firstname.lastname@example.org