Southern Oregon University is set to receive approximately $29,000 back from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the collector of student “Green Tag” fees, to be reinvested in campus sustainability projects.
“The idea is to add on to the campus programs about sustainability,” said Jon Eldridge, Vice President of Student Affairs. “It’s up to the students to determine what to do with it.”
Since 2007 the university has purchased Renewable Energy Credits and carbon offsets from the BEF. Using these credits, SOU offsets 100 percent of their electricity and natural gas usage, a higher percentage than any other school in Oregon.
All students are charged a “Green Tag” fee of $10 a term in order to fund the purchase of RECs. This money is then given to BEF where it is used as investment capital for wind farms, the promotion of research and development in the green industry, and the funding of conservation projects.
The BEF agreed to save 20 percent of the revenue from the university’s purchase of RECs and give it back to the university to be used in sustainability projects.
The $29,000 is the first “refund” the school has received.
The Associated Students of SOU Student Fee Committee will meet to hear requests and determine where to reinvest the money.
There are currently no requests, although anyone can request funding provided they can prove it will go toward a sustainable project.
“Technically, anybody affiliated with the university can request the funds,” said Eldridge. “It’s student money coming back, so the Student Fee Committee is going to determine what to do with it.”
Applications for funding can be found in the Student Affairs Office in SU 322.