Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

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Understanding NEIU’s Green Fee: Supporting Sustainability Initiatives on Campus

Ananth Prabhu
The illustrated recycling bin funded by Student Green Fees were found in the Ronald Williams Library

To be perfectly honest, reading a bill from the university can be a bit overwhelming if not incomprehensible for an undergraduate student. If this would be a freshman’s first time dealing with bigger finances to take care of, it could be overwhelming.

So what exactly is a “Green Fee”? At first, I thought it was a golf club that the university had and we all maintained it. Wrong. Come to find out the “Green Fee” we are billed for is to keep the lawns, trees, and general grounds of the campus well maintained. Most students do not even give it a second thought, if at all what are a few bucks anyway? Well, it is $3 multiplied by the number of students per semester and that totals to more than a few bucks. Let’s take a look at the Green Fee at least in terms of what it is to NEIU’s community.


The Green Fee has a committee that is made up of: 

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  • One student representative from the Student Government Association
  • One student representative from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Two student representatives from the Green Conservation Group 
  • One at-large student representative 
  • Two faculty members, one of which is from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Two staff members in Facilities Management.


The committee has a mission which is to maintain the natural aesthetic look of the campus with the lawn, trees, and plants. It strives to be a representation of the University’s commitment to being sustainable and providing an opportunity for students to be involved by allowing them to propose projects that would be in line with the purpose of the Green Fee Committee.

The Faculty Advisor, Dr. Lindsay Maldonando believes that each member of the committee, as well as the student body, has something to contribute to how these funds are used. If you feel like you have the next great project that the committee should embark upon feel free to contact Dr. Maldonado. Meetings are held in person at the main campus and are streamed to the other satellite campuses as well.

So regardless if we feel like the Green Fee is just another fee to be charged, perhaps we should look into the committee becoming involved and be the change we want to see like a native species garden that replaces the lawn, charging stations for electric cars or a recycled play area for the neighborhood children. Or maybe to combat the rising cost of food,  a community garden that contributes to the student food pantry. Whatever your idea is, present it at the next Green Fee Committee meeting. Feel free to reach out to the Green Fee email at [email protected].


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About the Contributors
Angie Ybarra
Angie Ybarra, Writer
Angela “Angie” Ybarra is a senior student enrolled in the Nontraditional Degree Program (NDP) at Northeastern Illinois University. She hopes to work as a grant writer to assist local nonprofit organizations that address the issues of gentrification within Chicago's NorthWest side and help them find funding for their work. Angie loves to give her audience the opportunity to formulate their own views by presenting the facts or points of interest with the hope to move her audience into action.  “Journalism is what maintains democracy.  It’s the force for progressive social change.”

----Andrew Vachss, Author 

Ananth Prabhu
Ananth Prabhu, Health & Sports Editor
Ananth Prabhu serves as the Health & Sports Editor for the NEIU Independent.  Currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in School Health at Northeastern Illinois University, Ananth brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the team.  Holding three Associates degrees from William Rainey Harper College and a Bachelor’s in Public Health with a concentration in Environmental Health from Northern Illinois University, he is committed to advocating for individuals facing health and education disparities.   Ananth’s goal in life is to be a catalyst for positive change, helping others improve their lifestyles through informative and cognizant options. Beyond his academic pursuits, he finds joy in rocking out to music, staying active through exercise, experimenting with plant-based cooking, and indulging in the world of Nintendo games, both in play and on live streaming platforms.   Join Ananth on his journey as he combines his academic expertise with a love for engaging content and brings a unique perspective to the Health & Sports section of the NEIU Independent.  

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