Five UF students are in Tallahassee this morning to vouch for their right to vote for a fee that would support renewable energy projects on Florida college campuses.

They will join 12 other university students from across the state to voice their support for the renewable energy fee before the Florida Senate’s Higher Education Committee, which is voting today on a bill that would grant universities the ability to implement the fee.

The fee would then need to be approved by a student vote and the board of trustees from each Florida public university.

The renewable energy fee would not exceed $1 per credit hour and would not be covered by Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

The programs sponsored by the fee could include solar- and wind-energy projects to promote energy efficiency, said Chris Cano, Gators for a Sustainable Campus  member and organizer of the trip.

“Students at individual universities want to implement the small fee,” Cano said.

According to the Gators for a Sustainable Campus Web site, the fee would also allow universities to buy campus power from renewable energy providers.

In the spring 2007 UF Student Government elections, 78 percent of student voters said they supported the implementation of the fee.

UF geography junior Nicole Motzer traveled to Tallahassee.

She said her plan is to clarify to the committee that the fee will help the university save money.

“It will help UF reach its goal of carbon neutrality,” Motzer said. “Since we spend $40 million on our utility bill, we could be spending money on academics rather than electricity.”

(3) comments


Great! More do-gooders being generous with other peoples' money. Gimme a break.


The students approved this fee two years ago by like 85% or more.


I'm proud to say we passed the bill through the Senate Higher Education committee this morning with a unanimous vote.

James, UF's utilities are consistently exceeding operating costs. Recent budget cuts to academics can be blamed in part on our exorbitantly high electric bills. For $6 a semester, students can contribute to an annual "Green Energy Fund" of over $600,000 for campus energy efficiency improvements, which pay for themselves in a couple of years and save universities millions in the long-run. If you are not willing to pay the price of a burrito each semester for alleviating our energy problem, then you are free to vote against the initiative. What this bill does is give students at individual universities the ability to vote on whether or not to implement a green fee. So no one is going to decide whether or not to be generous with your money, you can decide that yourself when you show up at the polls after this bill passes.

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