Students vie for $29,000 “Green-Tag” refund

The Student Fee Committee of the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University is still hearing requests for the $29,000 refund the university recently received from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a non-profit organization that sells carbon offsets to the university.

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 the 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 saves 20 percent of the revenue from the university’s purchase of RECs and gives it back to the university to be used in sustainability projects. The $29,000 is the first refund the school has received.

Currently the SFC has heard two requests for the funding, one from Shaun Franks for a green roof on the top of the Stevenson Union, and another from the Ecological Center of the Siskiyous for the construction of a recycling center on campus.

Franks, a Business major with an Environmental Studies minor, compiled a feasibility report in Winter term for putting a green roof on top of the SU, complete with solar panels and planting beds.

“It’s basically just a green space on the SU roof,” said Franks. “It affects the environmental, social, and mental well-being of everybody on campus. We can also possibly produce food.”

Franks estimates the total cost of the green roof to be $160,000, although he says volunteer work and donated materials would reduce expenses.

ECOS is requesting the money for the construction of a recycling center on campus, as part of their Waste Management Initiative.

“The recycling sorting facility will be used to sort out contaminated material from the recycling,” said Misty Munoz, a member of ECOS, via email. “The sorting facility… ensures what is being collected by the recycling bins is actually recycled rather than thrown away due to contamination issues- like what is currently happening with what recycling we are collecting.”

Funding request applications for funding can be found in the Student Affairs Office in SU322.



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