Globally Social: New Media and Policy Change
Colleen McEdwards
Posted by colleenmcedwards On October - 1 - 2014 0 Comment

GSU Green Fee

The  Georgia State Student Government Association called for the creation of a Green
Mandatory Fee during their meeting Thursday night by unanimously approving for
the 12.2 SGA Resolution to be sent to the university for consideration.

The green fee was passed as a part of the Student Activities Fee at Georgia State
last year, but if it were to be passed under Mandatory Fees, Georgia State
would join green efforts with several other universities in Georgia, such as
Georgia Tech, Emory or the University of Georgia, in implementing a fee for a
more eco-friendly environment.

Georgia State hasn’t been able to reach the level of ecological involvement these schools
have because, under Student Activities Fees, actions for what can be done with
the money are very limited.

Executive  Vice President of SGA Taylor Briggs said, “The purpose of the resolution is
just to state SGA’s thoughts and position.
It has no power in the university community, but ideally, it would make
a strong statement to the school.”

Senators  from each college spoke about the student body’s stance on the issue based on
their constituents’ feedback. Most said that, as long as fees are not raised overall,
they support the inclusion of a green fee.

According  to Peter Imhoff, senator of the College of Arts and Sciences, there is a
possibility that the overall fees might not have to necessarily increase to
include a sustainability fee, remembering that the Library Fee of $14 will
expire in 2014.

As  the board listed the amount of money that students pay for mandatory
sustainability fees in other colleges, they came to the conclusion that a
number as low as $3 might be sufficient for a green fee.

Senator  of the College of Law James Dutton said, “The idea is that we decrease fees and
make the green fee, and that makes everyone happy.”

However,  Jason Plemmons, senator for the Institute of Public Health, raised concerns
about $3 possibly being too low.

“We have 30,000 students at just $3. This is a green fee, which goes towards
changing things, right? $90,000 is nothing is this city,” Plemmons said. “Even
$14 is $420,000, which is not that much money.”

For this reason, Imhoff recommended to not put a cap amount of money to the fee.

There had previously been efforts by green organizations to include a green fee under
Mandatory Fees, but the Mandatory Fee Committee turned them all down.

According to a statement by Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Douglass Covey to The Signal last year, having the green fee under the Student Activity Fee severely limits the program’s purpose because the money from the fee can be used for student activities, but not to retrofit any of the buildings or create a more eco-friendly environment on campus.

After the discussion on the green fee was closed, the topic of ecological awareness
remained on the table as the board elected three new senators, two of them being involved in green organizations.

Haley Ugwuibe, Kelli Craig, and Justin Brightharp had the majority of the votes, but
not all.

Craig and Brightharp’s involvement as executives in sustainability organizations led
Sen. Dutton’s to raise concerns about a possible bias that would impede them
from operating with objectivity.

“I think that there’s going to be a bias towards these groups,” Dutton said. “As
young senators and as members of two executive boards for green issues . . . I
think it’s going to be really hard for them to separate their loyalty for that
organization from the loyalty to the 1,000 students that they will begin to
represent.”

Imhoff and Briggs immediately disagreed with Dutton’s opinion.

Imhoff asked for recognition first and said, “I don’t think that they’re going to be
single-issued candidates. Even if they were, I wouldn’t say it’s a negative
thing because I feel that that aspect of Georgia State has been missing.”

Briggs argued that the senators would bring diversity to the board.

“When we think of ourselves as a diverse organization, we all have our biases in our
certain areas that bring diversity,” Briggs said. “Here we have two senators
who are involved with sustainability and right now we don’t have that. So I
would say that adding those biases to our big group of biases is changing all
our opinion because that’s how we interact with each other.”

Aside from the discussion on sustainability, the topics of gun control and smoking
ban on campus were briefly brought up, but no decisions were made about them.

Also, the newly hired Georgia State head football coach Trent Miles made an
appearance as a special guest speaker. Miles talked about one of his main
missions as the new coach: to better the relationship between football players
and the student body.

“The overriding thing that I saw of the better schools from football was the
relationship that there was between the student body and the athletes – it was
a great relationship,” Miles said. “We want to be involved, we want to be part
of the student body community, we want to get involved in your functions and we
want to get involved in everything that’s going on. But at the same time, we
need you at the football games.”

Even though Miles said that establishing a football culture at Georgia State will
not be an easy task, he thinks it’s an achievable goal as long as there’s
student support.

“I know you’re going to have a great football team. I don’t know when that’s going
to happen, but I know it’s going to happen. And they’re going to be a team
that’s privileged to represent you but we need you to support them,” Miles
said. “Why not us? Why not Georgia State?”

The board did not hesitate to give Miles a standing ovation as he left the room.

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