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

The Green Fee committee’s brighter future for UIS

The+Green+Fee+committees+brighter+future+for+UIS
Contributors: Ellie Shonkwiler

UIS students and staff may see hints of this committee around campus but may not know what it all involves. The Green Fee Committee is an organization at UIS that decides what sustainable projects will be implemented at the university. You may see their logo around campus showing what they have done or the $5 fee in order to fund these projects. To decide what project they will do, they have students submit ideas in the first semester. These are then voted on by the committee. The committee is full of students, along with two permanent faculty positions. Salome Wortman is the sustainable coordinator for the Green Fee Committee and helped shed some light on what the committee’s focus is. Wortman said “We are dedicated to making UIS a more sustainable place whether it be through education or reducing energy and waste costs as well as much more.”

Currently, the committee is working on a handful of projects to make UIS a greener place. According to Wortman, these projects include lighting the colonnade with LED lights, working on a new recycling label for the bins here on campus, buying and planting pollinator plants, planning a thrifting field trip, replacing the lighting track in the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, and replacing battery-based toilet handles at the Student Union. They currently have lots in store and are pursuing a brighter future for UIS.

A few of the projects Wortman is most excited for are the new lights for the gallery as well as the thrifting field trip. The current lighting system limits the students and what they can do with them – and they also frequently go out. “By replacing the track, it can give the artists more flexibility with their work and help make the campus save on electricity and reduce waste,” according to Wortman. While the lights are going to be a new addition to the visual arts center this organization also wants to plan activities to include more people. This includes the thrifting field trip where any student can participate. They will be renting a bus and traveling to thrift stores around Springfield and stopping somewhere to eat lunch. This will be held on Saturday March 23. Some of the details are still being worked out but if you are interested in attending, reach out to [email protected].

In the past, the committee has implemented green roofs. These are on top of the student union and next to the performing arts center. Green roofs help provide more vegetation, keep buildings more insulated and capture runoff as well as much more. They also have funded water refill stations all around campus, permanent concrete recycling bins, handed out reusable bags, and distributed menstrual cups in alliance with the women’s center. These projects continue to grow and help UIS become a greener place.

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This committee is dedicated to a better campus for UIS, and it is evident through the projects that are in the works and have been accomplished. Every year, spots open up as seniors leave and it is open to all students with any major. At the beginning of the Fall semester people may apply to be on it or submit their letter of intent on a proposal for what the green fee committee should invest in.

If there is more interest from others the meetings are always public, but they request you email Dr. Styles in advance at [email protected] . This organization is always open to hearing from the students and if there are ever any questions, they are encouraged to send an email to the one listed above.

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