The Green Fee Deeds

Janice G. Salas

The effort for NEIU to go green continues, as members of the Green Fee Committee continue to propose and refine ideas to make the school a more eco-friendly place.

The green fee is a $3 charge that NEIU students pay as part of their tuition every semester. The Green Fee Committee (GFC) is in charge of spending that money. Not many students know that they have a say in what they would like to see their school accomplish when it comes to being more energy efficient and protecting their environment.

Photo by Janice Salas.
One of the potential designs of the new bike racks coming to campus.

At a meeting on April 17, 2014, the GFC laid out previous work done at NEIU and began to work on several new projects.

As of April 7, there was $140,000 left to spend before the end of the spring semester. The GFC meets on a regular basis to discuss proposals on how the remaining money will be used. They also accept all ideas and what they call ‘pre-proposals’ from students and faculty; the committee then decides to approve it or not.

The most recent proposals have included several eco-friendly possibilities. New water bottle re-fill stations may be installed, in addition to the already existing ones, as well as new LED lights in the green house facility and the BBH building to aid in student research projects and to create a possible community garden.

Also discussed was the installation of bird-safe glass. This will protect birds from colliding against the glass and will reduce the amount of dead birds seen on campus. A new refrigeration system could be installed in the cafeteria in an effort to conserve water that is usually wasted and to also reduce energy consumption.

The amount for LED lights in the green house facility passed at $3,000; BBH building at $7,412; the safe-bird glass at $10,000; refrigeration system at $18,850; and recently proposed recycling bins at $10,000. The amount left for the GFC to spend before the spring semester ends is $90,738.

GFC student member Mani Valathur said, “I encourage all NEIU community in ‘Being Seen & Being Green’ by participating in our funding process.”

At a recent public forum held on April 24, the GFC sent out a targeted announcement encouraging students to bring ideas to the table for the upcoming school year and to establish a connection with them.

The main focus of the forum was to brainstorm ideas on topics such as bikes, recycling, and increased student involvement in future projects. More NEIU students are deciding to ride their bikes to school every day, and it can be difficult to find a safe location to leave them. Student bike riders voiced their opinions on how it may be more convenient to install more bike racks, as well as two air pumps for their bikes.

The GFC also received pre-proposals that include new paper shredders and a fuel efficient hybrid vehicle for the parking facility.

The GFC urges students to take advantage of the fee they pay and to research subjects that are in their field of interest. It all starts with brainstorming and then writing a pre-proposal (½-1 pg.)

Once an idea is introduced to the committee, if they find it beneficial, students may focus on a full proposal and may even collaborate with Facilities Management to estimate expenses and time frame.

Participating with the GFC can be an enriching experience and rewarding for the environment. The Green Fee was created by NEIU students, and they encourage students to speak up, give suggestions and pass the word along.

The last GFC meeting of this spring semester will be on May 1 from 2-4 p.m., and it will be held in BBH 202. Students can also email [email protected] to propose their own ideas.