Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer


UIS Green Fee Committee Approves Projects

A water refilling station at the PAC was a green fee project | Photo credit: UIS Green Fee Committee

There are some changes you may have noticed around campus. The changes include a solar power charging station, a bike repair station, water bottle refilling stations, and outdoor recycling bins. These improvements are not by accident. They were done to create a more environmentally friendly UIS.

The Green Fee Committee gets to decide which projects get made. UIS tuition includes green fees – $5-$7 charges. The funds go to the making of green projects. The handful of student members on the committee has to make the Green Project decisions for the future of the campus.

“Our goal is to try to make the campus a little more sustainable or provide some green items or different activities back to the students with that money,” said Sarah Porcayo, Green Fee Committee Chair.

The Green Fee Committee votes on the projects, but the ideas for projects can be submitted by any student on campus. The process starts when a student sends in a letter of intent. These letters of intent were submitted back in November.

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After looking over the letters of intent, the Green Fee Committee then asks the person submitting if they’d like to submit a full proposal. The democratic process is completed when the group takes a final vote.

One bathroom-based plan was passed. The project creates more sustainable toilets. Many toilets on campus are older and use more water to flush than newer toilets. The project received $3000 in funding.

The move-in season can be stressful for new UIS students. Something that could make it more stressful might be trying in vain to find a recyclable dumpster for cardboard items. A green project passed for a recyclable rollaway dumpster on campus will attempt to make the moving process easier and more eco-friendly. The rollaway cardboard dumpster plan was allocated $350.

Nearly 20 projects were submitted. Out of those projects, five made it through and will be implemented.

The group works hand-in-hand with UIS Facilities & Services on improvements. One environmental issue they’re looking to improve in the future is energy usage.

“The photocell project is going to help us save on electricity too,” Salomé Wortman, the campus sustainability projects coordinator, said. “That money we can push to use to better parts of the campus overall instead of things just going to waste when we’re not even really using them.”

A photocell is an energy-saving device that manages indoor or outdoor lighting. The photocell turns itself off when extra light is unnecessary. The photocell project is the biggest of the bunch for the committee. The project will cost $15,000.

A plan to replace and replenish recycling labels around campus also passed. The recycling label project will receive $500 in funding.

The final project passed is for the birds. It is a safety project, so birds don’t fly into windows. The project will include small 6”x6” ultraviolet reflective stickers. These stickers will be placed on the inside of windows to help prevent birds from striking them. The bird safety project received $500 in funding.

The total budget for all green fee projects was $20,000.

There will be a lot of turnover for the Green Fee Committee after this school year. Most of the students on the board are set to graduate in May.

“There will be a lot of positions available for new students to apply and get invited to join the committee,” Porcayo said. “One of the sustainability coordinators will also be graduating, so that job position will also be available soon.”

The Green Fee Committee meets every other Friday via Zoom. The next meeting is on Friday, April 7, at 9 a.m. The meetings are open to the public.

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