Green Fee forum heads towards a sustainable future

The UAA Green Fee Board hosted an open forum informing students about its newest project in the Student Union Den on Oct. 24. Students were invited to share their own sustainable ideas in discussion with the members of the board.

All students enrolled at UAA pay $3 for the Green Fee per semester. The fee was first introduced in 2011. Since then, it has supported a number of projects fostering sustainability on campus.

Michaela Keller-Miller, junior accounting major, is one of the students serving on the board. She thinks that the Green Fee projects are benefiting the university.

“[As] climate change is growing, the Green Fee helps to take UAA a step in the right direction to solve the issue,” Keller-Miller said.

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Photo credit: Christian Cielo

Past projects include the installation of hydration stations, water filters and the recently installed hydroponics cabinet in the Student Union.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil in a water-based and nutrient-rich solution. Some of the greens grown in the unit in the Student Union have already been served to UAA students in events put on by the Green Fee Board.

Economics major Heather Jesse has been on the board for three years now and served as the board’s chair last year. With the public forum, the board wanted to learn more about student perspectives on specific ideas and to raise awareness about their work.

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“A lot of students don’t know who we are, and that’s a really unfortunate thing because I think that we have a lot to offer to students,” Jesse said.

All UAA students paying the fee are eligible to submit applications for Green Fee funds. The board decides which sustainable projects will be funded. Ideas furthering “social responsibility, economic pragmatism and environmental wisdom” have the best chance of receiving grants, according to the board’s website.

Keller-Miller also emphasized the importance of student input for the Green Fee projects.

“We want students to have a say in the projects that their Green Fee is helping to fund,” Keller-Miller said.

The board is currently working on the installation of 21 new solar panels on the Administrative and Humanities Building in addition to the nine panels that were installed last year.

The board meets every Friday at 12 p.m. in the Student Union. It is currently searching for more members as only four of a potential maximum of seven seats are taken.

Students interested in serving on the Green Fee Board can reach out to USUAA President Geser Bat-Erdene (usuaa.president@alaska.edu). The form for project proposals can be accessed via uaa.alaska.edu or the Green Fee Board’s Facebook page fb.com/uaagreenfee.

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