Posts filed under ‘renewable energy’

Florida Green Fee: Legislation Fizzled, But Campus Campaigns Still Sizzle!

The Green Fee campaign in Florida has already seen so much activity this year! The statewide coalition of schools worked closely with Florida Senator Lee Constantine’s office to present a Renewable Energy Fund Bill in the Florida House and Senate. The bill would have provided the necessary legislation for universities in the state system to implement the Green Fee. Florida and Texas are two of the only states that require students to navigate the legislative process in their quest to create funds to increase sustainability on their campuses. For more info and a nice blog hit for the campaign, see this: New York Times Blog Hit for Florida Green Fee!

The legislation flew through the first two committees, and met strong adversity in the third Higher Education Appropriations Committee. This committee is chaired by Senator Evelyn Lynn, who refused to place it on the agenda, but admitted on the floor that her office had fielded “40 or more calls per day” in support of the Fee. She used our display of Green Fee support as a testament to her overall disapproval for raising student fees. Although this is commendable in the face of the economic challenges we currently face, many students feel they should be given the choice to invest in their energy future to support a green economy. Most would be paying less that $20 per year, and with the current maximum being set at $1 per credit hour, the most a student would pay is $30 per year. A minimal investment considering the current peril of our climate and energy security!

So, what now? Well, all of this excitement has stirred up new campus campaigns and reinvigorated old ones! We are going to have a meeting sometime around August to flesh the plans out, but it looks like we are going to redirect our energies back onto the campus campaigns. Having other campuses join University of Florida and New College as leading institutions advocating for the students will increase the pressure on the state legislature to give the students and their universities what they demand: A Green Fee to Support a Green Future in Florida!

For more information, check out: www.floridagreenfee.com

or, contact mandy@climateaction.net

May 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

FL YOUTH DEMAND TO BE HEARD! “Give us the Green Fee!!”

Many of you know that students in the University System of Florida have been rocking the Green Fee campaign all over! In fact, 10 out of the 11 universities in the state system are actively planning and campaigning to get the Fee on their campus. 5 schools have already passed student referenda in support of the Fee. This year, they took it to the state, working with Senator Lee Constantine to present the Fee in the form of and amendment to Senate Bill 1996. Following the Bill to the floor, students from 5 universities attended the original committee meeting, where it passed 3 to 1 with one absent. They were again present at the next committee meeting where the bill passed unanimously.

Late last night, we got the word that the Renewable Energy Fund amendment, along with Florida Senate Bill 1996 was stalling at the Higher Education Appropriations Committee. This committee is chaired by Senator Evelyn Lynn, who opposes the fee, which would allow schools that have approved the fee to implement it. It is not mandatory. The students are asking for it. It is their money!

If it passed, it would allow University of Florida to implement a mere 50 cent per credit hour fee, which would generate nearly $800,000 to be used to increase efficiency and invest in renewable energy. New College of Florida would also be able to implement the $1 per credit hour fee that their students and administration approved, which is the maximum that would be allowed under the legislation.

Please take time to show your support of the Green Fee in Florida! Send the email below, or your version of it, ask your friends to do the same! Help us make it viral! Link this in your Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere!

For more info on the history of this campaign, check out the Florida Green Fee Coalition.

Questions? mandy@climateaction.net

Dear Senator Lynn,

I, _______________________________, am a student strongly in support of the Green Fee currently being proposed for public universities across the state of Florida. Myself, as well as students at five other public universities within Florida, voted in support of referendums on our campuses dealing with funding for the Green Fee. Along with student backing from the remaining Florida institutions, the campaign has grown to all the public universities in the state over the past 2 years. The Florida Student Association has also endorsed the passage of this legislation. Students are not only willing, but eager to contribute financially to sustainability efforts on their own respective campuses.

With Earth Day quickly approaching, supporting SB 1996 would be an incredible effort in the fight against global climate change. With your support and this groundbreaking legislation, Florida will have the opportunity to be a leader in sustainability efforts on campuses across the country. Please support the concerns of university students in Florida by making every effort to see that the Green Fee becomes a reality.

Sincerely,
[name]

April 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

Tales from Florida on Power Shift #1

~Youth for Power Shift~Noel LaPlume at Power Shift rally
Submitted by Noel LaPlume
Student at Miami Dade Community College in Florida

From the moment our group of 11 people from Miami, FL set foot on the pleasantly cold city of Washington, D.C. we were afflicted by the excitement that penetrated the air. Apparently it was a widespread epidemic, with over 12,000 young people from all over the states convened together for a long weekend with one sole purpose in mind- to rock the House for Power Shift ’09. On Friday night we kicked-off the convention with a series of motivational speakers which were nothing short of excellent, followed by a series of workshops and two great concerts that left us in a sensationally groovy mood.

By the time Monday rolled around, the adrenaline was kicking in to our system as we entered the Congressional House to meet with our Representatives. This turned out being fun rather than stressful since they tended to be inclined to listen to our inspirational voices demanding change- one that would turn our fossilized fossil fuel system to an updated one fueled by alternative energy. They understood. Each and every voice expressed the desperate need to fix the pool of mistakes we have been swimming in for such a long time. Representative Kendrick Meek understood the urgency of the message we were trying to convey to him – it is no longer acceptable to keep swimming idly because precious time is being wasted while millions of ecosystems are suffering from it. Rep. Meek started telling us of strategies we could use to further work in our local town. On the other hand, not every representative in the House and Senate has the ability to see the benefits of investing in this, most are brutally short-sighted and can’t see beyond the end of their own agenda. For this reason, we rallied in front of Capitol Hill amongst thousand of our fellow comrades, where we chanted for a better, cleaner and safer future. Then, many of us continued on to march toward a coal power plant located just a few blocks away from the Capitol. Believe it or not; there we assembled strong and united and carried on our support for a sustainable earth by blocking the entrances to the dirty plant. We endured cold temperatures with inadequate protective clothes for snow, and became very ill because of it, but I know that there are many more hardships to come and I welcome them with glee, for protecting The Earth is the greatest challenge and greatest satisfaction any one person can every experience and so we must keep going strong until we prove them wrong.

Now back home, preparations have begun to spread the good news and experience gained at the capital. The goal is that all 12,000 of us, together but separate, work locally to produce a massive Power Shift in both infrastructure and general philosophy. I’m so excited. Are you? Don’t fret, we’re in this together. Get ready, set, GO !

March 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

::The Green Fee Toolkit Unveiled::

Southern Energy Network is happy to announce the release of the Green Fee Toolkit! It has been a long time coming, but, finally, SEN staff have put the final edits in and Alex Abell has put on the final design touches.

This Green Fee Toolkit will be a valuable resource to those interested in learning more about the Green Fee Campaign, how to run effective Green Fee campaigns, and the successes and challenges of other youth who have run the campaign on their campus.

Aside from providing insight into the Green Fee campaign, this toolkit can provide structure to other campaigns as well. Although framed within the context of a specific campaign, it provides basic insight into campaign planning and can be applied to all sorts of campaigns on campus and within the community!

As one of the editors of the toolkit, I am excited and proud to present the SEN Green Fee Toolkit! Check it and get with your state organizer for more information!

Tennessee: Reggie@cleanenergy.org
North Carolina: Russ@climateaction.net
Georgia/South Carolina: Imran@climateaction.net
Florida: Mandy@climateaction.net

February 12, 2009 at 5:28 am Leave a comment

Florida Takes the Green Fee to the Next Level

2009: Year of the Green Fee

After saying goodbye to 2008, the Florida Green Fee Coalition set dead aim on 2009 with big plans for the state legislature.  A student created bill went through the legislative drafting process and is poised to be used in the upcoming March legislature session.  With the bill in hand, students have been contacting their state leaders and putting the Green Fee on the political map.

On Friday January 16th students are traveling to Fort Meyers to give a presentation and solicit support from the Florida Student Association (FSA), a group consisting of the student government presidents and staff from the Florida universities.

With the March legislative session readily approaching, the coalition is trying to find sponsorship within the state senate and house.  Students have contacted key state members throughout the course of the campaign, and a breakthrough is hopeful.

Currently, in a special session, the legislature is making decisions that will likely cut funding to many educational budgets across the state.  Now more than ever the coalition is pushing for the green fee, not only so sustainability can remain economically viable on college campuses, but also to show that students care enough of about these issues to put their money where their mouth is.  Look for more exciting information in the coming weeks.

Florida Green Fee humble beginnings

The campaign for a statewide green fee has been underway for over 2 years.  Students at the University of Florida got together in the fall of 2006 with the desire to create a more environmentally friendly UF.  The student group Gators for a Sustainable Campus promoted and worked hard to gauge student support for a green fee on their campus, culminating in a victory in the spring 2007 student government election.  UF students supported the creation of a green fee with 78% of the vote.

In the proceeding months, other schools from around the state began to start similar campaigns on their college campuses, and the Florida Green Fee Coalition was formed.  Coming together for a common goal and putting aside usual intra-state school rivalry, students worked tirelessly to advance the cause.  And in the spring of 2008, the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, and New College of Florida all passed referendum with 67%, 70%, and 80% respectively.  More schools joined the campaign, with new programs set up at USF, FAU, and UWF.

Emboldened by the successes at Florida campuses, the coalition moved the campaign to the state level.  Campus leaders along with Southern Energy Network organizers met in Miami in October of 2008 to discuss strategy and tactics in the coming months.  With the holiday season fast approaching, students took a much-needed break but were looking forward to move full speed ahead in the New Year.

Blog Submitted By: Zak Keith, Florida Green Fee Coordinator

January 17, 2009 at 1:02 am Leave a comment

Green Fee in FL=Clean Energy+Green Jobs!

Florida Takes the Green Fee to the Next Level  by Mandy Hancock

Students across Florida have been campaigning on their campuses for 2 years to get a “Green Fee” that will create a budget to increase efficiency and invest in renewable energy technologies on campus. This is their way of telling their administrators and legislators that they are serious about clean, safe energy and if the leaders won’t lead, the students will!

Several campuses have passed a student referendum: UF, UCF, FSU, and New College. And University of Florida just won a great victory when the Board of Trustees (BOT) gave their overwhelming support of the initiative!  New College has also passed through their BOT and Florida State University is presenting to their BOT this November.
(more…)

October 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

Ride for a Sustainable Tennessee

Ride for a Sustainable Tennessee

Like bikes? Want to raise money for the TN network of student activists? At the end of the summer, in the first two weeks of August, there is a bike ride through Eastern and Middle Tennessee. The ride is a fundraiser and outreach tool for Tennessee Alumni and Students for Sustainable Campuses (TASSC). This is the most awesome state network of student environmental groups this side of the Mississippi, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to get involved and ride your bike for a week. As we pass through major cities (Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Johnson City, and more) the riders will meet on a central campus with student activists from the area. My goal is to end the ride critical mass style up to the legislature and lobby for clean energy legislation and alternative forms of transportation. If you are interested in joining the adventure in its entirety, spots are limited. However, we need as many people as possible on bikes for rides through major cities and especially through Nashville. There is the possibility of organizing a one day fundraising ride that can join up with the main group as we ride through, if you are interested. If you have any desire to make Tennessee more sustainable and ride bicycles, email me at sjorda10@utk.edu. This ride could be the best experience of your summer! Yours truly, Sam Jordan

June 16, 2008 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment

5th Annual SSREC…. Right around the bend

The energy is building here in the little southern town of Valdosta Georgia, as youth from across the Southeast begin to trickle in, volunteering their time to prepare for what promises to be an exciting, and in many respects epic, weekend. Thats right, one more day, until Southern Energy Networks 5th Annual South East Student Renewable Energy Conference!

This year, more then 400 students from more then 8 states will converge to hear the stories of gulf-coast/appalachian community members and young people whos lives have been dramatically effected by fossil fuels extraction, dirty energy production, and the worst effects of global warming. Students and Youth come to share experiences, knowledge, and insight on the many ways campuses leading the way in healing America’s dirty energy addiction, with a strong dose of clean and health energy justice.

Most importantly, however, we come to rejoice in and celebrate the fellowship and stewardships of our peers who share with us the heavy burden of strengthening one of our nations weakest links in the international struggle to save our climate, our communities, and our futures.

February 7, 2008 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

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