New fee proposal set for vote next week

The average Alaskan resident who attends UAA full time, pay’s a minimum of $806.00 in student fee’s each year. Therefore if a student attends college for four years, that total grows comes out to $3,224.00. This money amount is made up of smaller amounts such as $108.00 for the Athletic fee, a $96.00 fee for the Health center and a $10.00 fee for the Concert Board. But with many students taking five years to complete their degree, it adds an additional $806.00, bringing student fees to a staggering 4,030.00 by the end of a five-year college career.

“All I know is that with all of that money, I could potentially be taking extra classes and graduating sooner,” said civil engineering major Sean McNulty.

In the upcoming USUAA elections set for November eighth and ninth, not only will students be able to vote for new representation, they will have the opportunity to weigh in on whether or not UAA adds another mandatory fee,; the green fee.

The green fee would be a three-dollar fee for students enrolled in three or more credits at all UAA and all UA campuses. Interested students could then partner with a faculty or staff member to submit a project to the designated board and potentially receive funding from this accumulated fund. These projects would be required to focus on sustainability but could vary in method. The green fee funds would be managed by USUAA bylaws and any funding not used for a project would roll over into the next funding period. UAF has already seen notable success with a similar program known as SIREN. The SIREN fee is an annual $20.00 per student fee that was put into effect in the fall of 2009. These funds were used to finance a solar panel project that ultimately replaced 4.5 percent of UAF’s 2009 energy expenditure.

The green fee is being put forth by USUAA Senator Johnnie E. Templeton and House Speaker Daniel Ribuffo as an effort to promote sustainability here on the UAA campus.?“I myself am paying for college, but I feel like this is a chance to excel. I am ok with paying three dollars so that someone else, or myself in the future, may succeed further in college,” said Ribuffo.

Currently 2020,559 students are currently enrolled with UAA., If the fee were to be enacted, if this fee goes into effect, the first year alone will would generate a pool of roughly $61,677. The money would then,  be which will be allocated to innovative students and overseeing faculty members’ projects. Though no such project currently exists, Ribuffo feels confident that once the money is in place student- teacher teams will take advantage of it.

“Having a pool of money for ‘sustainability’ exclusively, will encourage students to actually flush ideas out and turn them into actions,” said Ribuffo. But many students question the validity of such a fund when the money will be coming out of student pockets.

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“There are so many groups on campus already trying to make UAA more sustainable,” said USUAA student senator and chairmen of student affairs Alejandra Buitrago. “People should pull resources from them before creating a whole new pot of income for projects that we don’t even know if people want to do.” Students will vote November eighth and ninth next week on USUAA representation and the fate of the green fee. Booths will be located in the Student Union building.