A Students’ Association-backed resolution calling for a campus-wide sustainability fund passed Thursday with about 10 percent of the student body voting. The fund would cost students $25 per year and would establish a campus-wide recycling program.
A total of 480 students voted, with 324 voting for, 148 voting against and eight abstaining. Because the proposal passed, the Students’ Association will petition the university administration to implement the proposal, called the Genesis Fund. The fund would have about $100,000 paid by a mandatory $25 fee charged to all students, according to an SA document prepared by Dr. Joshua Brokaw, assistant professor of biology.
The fund would provide for a recycling program maintained by Facilitates and Campus Management. A sustainability council comprised of three students, three staff members, three faculty members and one facilities representative would allocate the funds to any other sustainability measures supported by the Genesis Fund. Other initiatives could include supplies for sustainability related service activities by student organizations such as recycling or clean-up outreach campaigns, solar panels or sustainability enhancement projects by campus offices to engage students such as water stations that encourage reusable bottles.
“I have been encouraged by the wide scope of involvement that we have had in preparing for the Genesis Fund,” said Abbey Moses, SA president. “The demand for sustainability at ACU is coming from a diverse group of people, and I think that the unity showed is telling of the need for the fund.”
SA gathered student opinions about sustainability through a survey sent to the student body last semester, and 399 students participated. Eighty-one percent of the surveyed students agreed or strongly agreed that recycling should be available in every building on campus, and 61.1 percent said they would be comfortable with a $25 fee for sustainability.
Students who don’t support the fee said the university doesn’t need $100,000 to pay for recycling. Matthew Tidmore, junior management major from Amarillo, said $25 may not seem like much but for some students that money could help pay for rent or food. Recipients of Pell Grants could appeal the fee, but Tidmore said many students who don’t have Pell Grants struggle with finances.
“Recycling in itself is a good thing, but there are bigger problems at hand,” Tidmore said. “It doesn’t really make sense that they need that much money to do that.”
Tidmore said most students he talked to were indifferent or against the fund. He said he also voted against the Student Activity fee, which students voted on two years ago and charges students $25 per semester to pay for concerts and on-campus activities.