Global warming and energy conservation may be a global problem, but at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), the effort to go green starts locally.
The Independent spoke with Green Fee Committee Chair Louie Georgopoulos to shed light onto how the Green Fee has contributed to NEIU. He also shared details of who exactly the Green Fee Committee comprises of as well.
What exactly happens to the $3 that every student pays for the Green Fee? “That money goes into an account, and basically, the money is used to fund any ideas that students or anybody in the university community has in terms of having the university go more green, and going towards energy conservation,” said Georgopoulos.
“Anybody can approach the Green Fee Committee. There is a pre-proposal stage that you can come in and verbally express your idea,” said Georgopoulos.
He said that the Green Fee Committee has members of Facilities Management who can work with students to see if something can be installed or implemented on campus.
The Green Fee has already contributed to a variety of NEIU environmental innovations. Georgopoulos said, “The water bottle refilling stations we have here, we’ve had them for about a year and we’re going to get more of them on campus.”
In addition to the water bottle refilling stations, the Green Fee Committee has installed solar panels.
“We did two types of solar panels on main campus: one is on building B, which is a photovoltaic, where it uses the sun to create electricity,” explained Georgopoulos. “And on the P.E. building, we have one used more to heat up hot water. So it can warm up the water for the swimming pool, and can use less natural gas.”
As for future projects and ideas, Georgopoulos said the Green Fee Committee is interested in harnessing not only the sun for power, but possibly that of the wind using wind turbines.
To settle the curiosity as to “who” exactly is the Green Fee Committee, Georgopoulos explained that the committee is made up of several groups consisting of Facilities Management members, as well as two members from the Green Conservation group. “They were the people who spearheaded the Green Fee Committee,” he said.
Students make up a portion of the committee as well. Every fall, students are given the chance to join through a university wide targeted announcement. “Depending on those applicants we select the person by going through the interview process and going through applications to get those people on [the committee].”
“It’s good because lots of things we do on campus come from the students and university community,” said Georgopoulos. “It’s a good way to get ideas heard.”
The next Green Fee meeting will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, in BBH 202. Students are welcome to participate.