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Sustainability

Students tax themselves to make campuses greener

June 29, 2010
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The student union building at the University of California in Riverside, known as the HUB, is the pride of the school: In a few years, the student union will have another distinguishing feature — solar panels atop its roof, according to New America Media.
The solar project, which will be funded entirely by students, is a first for the campus: In April, UC Riverside students passed a fee referendum, agreeing to tax themselves $2.50 per quarter for four years and using the proceeds in part to install solar panels to boost renewable energy on campus, the article stated.
Students at UC Riverside join their peers at schools in California, Texas and Arizona that also passed this year green fees to support sustainability projects, the article noted.
According to the article, the willingness of students to essentially tax themselves to fund green projects at a time when they are feeling the pain of hefty tuition and fee hikes at universities nationwide underscores the importance of environmental issues to this generation.
"It shows a level of commitment [for sustainability] by students that exceeds that of campus leadership," Paul Rowland, executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
"Students look at it, and think this is the jumping off point for the future. We''d like to use the campus as a model of what we''d like the future to look like," Rowland added.
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